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Royal Montreal Regiment, 14 th 



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Tin; Royal Montreal Riooimknt Wist Down Solti i Salisbury Plain. November, 1914 



The Royal Montreal Regiment 

14th Battalion, C.E.F. 
1914-1925 



Edited and Compiled 
By 

R. C. FETHERSTONHAUGH 



Printed in Canada to the order of 
THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 

BY 

The Gazette Printing Co. Limited 
MONTREAL 

1927 



Copyright, Canada, 1927 
by The Royal Montreal Regiment 



Printed in Canada 



\ IN ‘THE * FIELDS* OF i 
FRANCE*© 'FLANDERS 
SLEEPS *A‘ BATTALIO N * OF 
TH E • ROYAL' MONTREAL 
REGIMENT 

1.192 STRONG 




TO ITS MEMORY 
THIS BOOK IS 
DEDICATED 






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PREFACE 



I N preparing this narrative history of The Royal Montreal Regiment 
(14th Battalion, C.E.F.), the author received assistance which it 
is his' duty and pleasure to acknowledge. 

From the beginning the book has owed much to the Regimental 
History Committee, under the chairmanship of Lieut.-Col. C. B. Price, 
D.S.O., D.C.M., with Lieut. L. W. Taylor as Honorary Secretary. 
This Committee, including at one time or another more than twenty 
officers, met frequently for over a year, to discuss problems and to 
provide the author with information supplementing the official Bat- 
talion Diary. Other members of the Regiment, and relatives of many 
who were killed, granted interviews, or lent letters and diaries, which 
shed light where most needed. To all these the author desires to 
express his sense of deep obligation. 

This preface also affords opportunity for expression to Sir Andrew 
Macphail, Kt., O.B.E., of the Regiment’s, and the author’s, indebted- 
ness for scholarly advice, which polished the manuscript in many places. 
Similarly, the Regiment and the author desire to acknowledge in- 
valuable assistance given by the Historical Section, General Staff, 
Department of National Defence, and by the Records Section of the 
Department. Under the directorship of Col. A. Fortescue Duguid, 
D.S.O., the Historical Section checked the manuscript and verified, or 
corrected, the text as required. From data supplied by Col. F. Logie 
Armstrong, O.B.E., Director of Records, the appendices of this book 
were compiled. To the courtesy of the Directors and Staffs of the 
Historical and Records Sections, therefore, the book owes a large share 
of any merit it may possess. 



R. C. F. 



Montreal, February 1st, 1927. 



In the preparation of this work the Department of 
National Defence has allowed the author free access to 
official diaries, orders, messages, maps and other 

documents. 



FOREWORD 



By LIEUT.-GENERAL SIR R. E. W. TURNER, 
V.C., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O. 



9 1 ; I E author’s work stands on its own merits and needs no intro- 
I duction, as, in every way, it is admirable; but when my old 
comrades asked me to write a foreword, I could not refuse. 

The 14th Canadian Battalion, designated “The Royal Montreal 
Regiment” by special warrant — authority of II. M. the King — and 
recruited in August, 1914, from three Montreal units of the Canadian 
Active Militia, 

1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards, 

3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, 

65th Regiment, Carabiniers de Mont-Royal, 

was one of the four battalions in the Third Canadian Infantry Brigade. 
As I had the honour of commanding the Brigade from the beginning of 
the Great War until September, 1915, I can speak from personal know- 
ledge of the Regiment. 

From the outset it was composed of both English and French, and 
illustrated more than any other battalion in the 1st Canadian Division 
the spirit of unity between those two great races. When the Regiment 
landed at St. Xazaire in February, l9l5, the French people, as I well 
remember, were amazed and delighted to find Canadians in British 
uniform speaking French as their mother tongue. 

Like other Canadian troops, most of the members of this Regiment 
had their first experience of war conditions at Yalcartier Camp and on 
Salisbury Plain. Like others, they cheerfully accepted sunshine and 
rain, comfort and discomfort, as part of the day’s work. Even before 
they reached France, they began to learn that in modern warfare dis- 
cipline and training are essential; and that nothing must be left to 
chance when men’s lives are at stake. 

I shall not attempt to tell over again the story of the many gallant 
deeds done by the Battalion. Mr. Fetherstonhaugh has described the 
fighting; also in Chapter VI and elsewhere he has shown how little real 
rest our fighting men had in the war. Among events in the Regiment’s 
history that came under my own notice w r ere: — The wanning by Stretcher- 
Bearer Drake, at Sailly-sur-le-Lys, of the first Distinguished Conduct 
Medal in the Canadian Division; the winning of the Victoria Cross by 
the Medical Officer, Capt. Scrimger, at Ypres; the stand made at Ypres 
by Williamson and his machine guns; and the assisting in bringing in 
wounded under shell fire by Bugler Ginley, a lad of 15 years, at Festubert . 



IX 



X 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1914 



Later, as history shows, the record so begun was continued by such 
men as Beaton, Topham, Pelletier, Jobel, Lepine, Woodward, and 
Wilson; by Brewer in the Buissy Switch; by McKean, who won in 
succession the Military Medal, the Victoria Cross, and the Military 
Cross; and by Patterson, who returned to the Battalion after being 
five times wounded. The magnificent team work of Worrall, Price, and 
MacRitchie, and the gallant conduct of other senior officers, such as 
Meighen, Burland, Fisher, Clark, McCombe, Frost, and McKenna, are 
also a matter of record. 

From the first, by its union of French and English, the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment helped to promote Canadian esprit de corps; now by its 
affiliation with the West Yorkshire Regiment, the old 14th Foot of the 
British Army, it also helps to bind Canada to the Motherland. It is 
gratifying to all who served in the Battalion during the war to know 
that Ihe Regiment is part of the re-organized Active Militia of Canada— 
with its own fine armoury in Westmount — and that both the name of 
the Regiment and the record of the services loyally given for the Empire 
will thus be preserved for all time. 



It. E. W. TURNER, 

Lieut .-General. 



Quebec, P.Q., January, 1927. 



Contents 



PAGE 

Chapter I. 

Mobilization. July 24, 1914 — September 28, 1914 ... 3 

Chapter II. 

The First Contingent. September 28th, 1914 — February 9, 

1915 12 

Chapter III. 

From Salisbury Plain to Trenches in France. February 10, 

1915— April 14, 1915 24 

Chapter IV. 

The Gas Attack at Ypres. April 15, 1915 — May G, 1915. . 35 

Chapter V. 

Festubert, Givenchy, and The Summer of 1915. May G, 

1915 — August 4, 1915 ....... 52 

Chapter VI. 

Messines. August 5, 1915 — March 18, 19 1G .... 67 

Chapter VII. 

Back to the Salient. March 18, 19 1G — June 1, 1916 . . 77 

Chapter VIII. 

June, 1916. June 2, 1916— June 30, 1916 .... 84 

Chapter IX. 

From the Salient to the Somme. July 1, 1916 — August31, 1916. 98 

Chapter X. 

The Somme. September 1, 1916 — October 15, 1916 . . . 106 



XI 1 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



Chapter XI. 

Montreal Crater and Trench Raids. October lti, 1916 — 

March 31, 1917 124 

Chapter XII. 

The Taking of Vimy Ridge. April 1,1917 — May 5, 1917 141 

Chapter XIII. 

Holding Vimy Ridge. May 6, 1917 — July 13, 1917 . . 152 

Chapter XIV 

The Battle of Hill 70. July 14, 1917 — August 22, 1917 160 

Chapter XV 

The Ypres Salient Again. August 23, 1917 — November 11, 

1917 . 172 

Chapter XVI. 

Winter on the Lens Front. November 11, 1917 — March 18, 

1918 1S5 

Chapter XVII. 

Germany’s Great Effort. March 21, 1918 — May 19, 1918 . 196 

Chapter XVIII. 

Army Reserve and Telegraph Hill. May 19, 1918 — July 31, 

1918 * .210 

Chapter XIX. 

Germany’s Black Day. August 3, 1918 — August 21, 191S . 216 

Chapter XX. 

The Corps Strikes Again. August 21, 1918 — September 24, 

1918 230 



1925 CONTENTS xiii 

Chapter XXI. 

Across the Canal du Nord. September 24, 1918 — September 

30, 1918 245 

Chapter XXII. 

The .Armistice. September 30, 1918 — November 11, 1918 . 254 

Chapter XXIII. 

Over the German Border. November 11, 1918 — January 4, 

1919 267 

Chapter XXIV. 

Huy, Bramshott and Montreal. January 5, 1919 — April 20, 

1919 ‘ . . .278 

Chapter XXV. 

Re-organization. April 20, 1919 — December 31, 1925 . 286 



APPENDICES 

A — Honour Roll ......... 296 

B — Honours and Awards (Regimental) .... 309 

C — Honours and Awards . . . . .314 

D — Commissions . . . . .317 

E — Itinerary . . . . . . . . 320 



F — Statistics 



334 



Illustrations 



XV 



PAGE 

The Battalion, West Down South, Salisbury Plain, November, 1914 Frontispiece 



His Majesty King George V — Brymshott Camp 10 

Front Line Trenches, Fleurbaix, March, 1915 30 

Officers of the Battalion, Cassel, France, March, 1915 . . . .34 

Cloth Hall, Ypres, April, 1915 36 

The Crater, Birdcage, Ploegsteert Wood, 18th July, 1915 64 

Scene of Counter Attack, 3rd June, 1916 ....... 86 

Railway Cutting, Approach to Hill 60 Trenches, June, 1916 . .94 

Battalion Memorial, Somme, 1916 ........ 122 

Souchez MO 

Vimy Ridge, April, 1917 148 

Commanding Officers in France .160 

Marching to Rest Billets after Hill 70, August, 1917 .... 172 

Platoon of No. 2 Company, Frevillers, July, 1918 212 

Hangard Wood, 8th August, 1918 218 

Beaurains, near Arras, Septfmber, 1918 ....... 242 

Assembly Position, Canal du Nord, 27th September, 1918. . . . 250 

Presentation of Colours, Unter Eschbach, Germany, 4th January, 1919 . 276 

Home-coming, Montreal, 20th April, 1919 . . . . . . . 284 

Commanding Officers, after Reorganization 288 

Battalion V.C.’s: 

Lt.-Col. F. A. C. Scrimger, V.C., Captain G. B. McKean, V.C., M.C., 

M.M 292 




( Specially prepared by Captain J. S. Brisbane) 



The Second Battle of Ypres, April 1915, ....... 42 

3rd June, 1916 84 

Somme, 1916 114 

Vimy Ridge, April, 1917 ■ . mg 

Amiens, August, 1918 232 

Canal du Nord, September, 1918 252 



The Royal Montreal Regiment 

14th Battalion C.E.F. 
1914-1925 



CHAPTER I 



MOBILIZATION 



Once more we hear the word 
That sickened earth of old: — 
“ No law except the Sword 
Unsheathed and uncontrolled.” 
Once more it knits mankind, 
Once more the nations go 
To meet and break and bind 
A crazed and driven foe. 



— Rudyard Kipi.ing. 



I 



M and prepare to quit yourselves like men, for the hour of 



Field Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar, V.C., used these 
words to warn the Empire of approaching war with Germany, but 
in spite of the solemnity with which the warning was uttered, and 
afterwards constantly repeated, few heeded it. The newspapers for 
the most part commented with respectful pity. It was a tragedy, they 
said, to see a fine old soldier showing signs of senile decay. Colonial 
w T ars still might occur; European war was utterly unthinkable. 

This opinion was widely accepted in Canada, though individuals 
prepared for the coming storm, as is shown by a letter, dated in 
Winnipeg on August 3rd, 1912, and written by a young ex-private of 
the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada: — “I joined the 90th 
the other night, for it seems to me that there’s trouble coming very 
soon, and to my thinking every man who can march and shoot will 
be needed. There’s no certainty, of course, but ‘ Qui vivra, verra 

Canadians truly lived to see, though on July 24th, 1914, when the 
Austrian ultimatum to Serbia was made public, few were more than 
casually interested. Austria declared war on Serbia on July 28th, 
but still Canadians believed that the conflict would prove a “ Balkan 
affair ” of minor significance. Soon this unreasoning hope was shat- 
tered. On August 1st Germany declared war on Russia, and inevi- 
tably thereafter nation after nation was drawn into the abyss. France 
and Germany exchanged declarations of war on August 3rd, and all 
eyes turned to Britain. What part was the world’s greatest empire to 
play in the world’s greatest tragedy? Viscount Grey, then British 
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, describes in his memoirs the 




your ordeal is at hand.” Speaking at Manchester, in 1912, 



4 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



immense strain on all responsible ministers as the question of peace 
or war was discussed. Britain had guaranteed Belgian neutrality, 
which Germany was determined to violate. Accordingly, the British 
Army was mobilized and an ultimatum sent to Berlin, demanding a 
satisfactory reply by midnight on August 4th. On the evening of 
August 4th, Mr. Asquith, Sir Edward Grey, and a group of British 
Cabinet Ministers waited at 10 Downing Street for Germany’s answer. 
Midnight struck; and no reply had come. England, therefore, was 
at war with Germany. 



II 

Perhaps the most amazing phenomenon of July and August, 1914, 
was the response of the British Empire. Without hesitation the 
Dominions joined the Mother Country in accepting Germany’s chal- 
lenge, a remarkable development in view of the fact that the Domin- 
ions were non-militaristic to a degree. Australia and New Zealand 
had never suffered invasion, or attacked a national foe, limited partici- 
pation in the South African war marking the extent of their military 
effort up to this time. In Canada the situation was not widely 
different, for, though Canada had seen wars and invasions, these events 
had passed into history and the Canadian people ha*d spent a century 
at peace, minor rebellions and the South African war having affected 
directly but a few thousand troops or civilians. Under a quiet surface, 
however, the blood of generations of fighting men ran true and strong. 
Britain was still “ home ” to thousands of Canadians, and was the 
“ Old Country ” to thousands more, commanding no small measure of 
love and loyalty. In Quebec, too, there was the call of the old land, 
deep ties of ancestry, race, language, and religion summoning the 
sons of French Canada to the side of France in her fight against the 
Teuton aggressor. Evidence of the spontaneity of the war spirit in 
Canada is found in the fact that the Militia Council met on July 30th 
and forthwith announced that, should war break out, Canada would 
send overseas a first contingent twenty-two thousand five hundred 
strong. 

Without waiting to be informed of the Government’s attitude, the 
regiments of the Canadian Militia took steps to prepare detachments 
for whatever service might be required of them. Included amongst 
the units so doing were the 1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards, 
(he 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, and the 65th Regiment, 
Carabiniers de Mont-Royal. These regiments, each with proud tradi- 
tions of its own, had their respective armouries in Montreal, the 



1914 



MOBILIZATION 



o 



Guards on Esplanade Avenue, facing Fletcher’s Field; the Victoria 
Rifles on Cathcart Street, west of University Street; and the Cara- 
biniers de Mont-Royal on Pine Avenue, between Drolet and Henri 
Julien Streets. 

When war was declared these armouries became the scene of 
intense activity as, under the leadership of Col. J. \\ . Carson, Lieut. - 
Col. W. W. Burland, and Lieut.-Col. J. T. Ostell, the three regiments 
recruited their overseas contingents. At first, each of the regiments 
wished to send its own battalion to the front, but the Department of 
Militia and Defence refused to permit this and ordered the three to 
combine forces. 

Early in August conferences to this end took place and eventually 
an active service battalion was brought into being. Col. the Hon. 
Sam Hughes, Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence, bestowed 
on the new unit the title “ Royal Montreal Regiment ”, and under 
this name the Battalion fought in France. Officially, warrant to use 
the royal prefix was granted by the King only after the Regiment 
had established its worth on a score of hard fought fields and returned 
in triumph to Canada. In the meantime the full title “ Royal Mont- 
real Regiment ” was used to designate the Battalion in the Army 
List issued by the War Office. 

On formation, command of the Royal Montreal Regiment was 
assumed by Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen, who had risen to the command 
of the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada, in 
1906, and subsequently had transferred to, and served with, the 1st 
Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards. The post of Second-in-Com- 
mand of the new Regiment was awarded to Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland, 
Commanding Officer of the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, 
and Lieut. A. P. Holt, of the Grenadier Guards, was appointed Bat- 
talion Adjutant. Under the organization arrangements, recruiting for 
Nos. 1, 2, and 3 Companies of the Regiment was carried on by the 
Grenadier Guards; Nos. 4, 5, and 6 Companies were recruited by the 
Victoria Rifles; and Nos. 7 and 8 Companies were raised by the Cara- 
biniers de Mont-Royal. Command of the eight companies was given 
respectively to Capt. J. N. Warminton, Capt. R. Steacie, Capt. P. R. 
Hanson, Capt. Gault McCombe, Capt, A. C. Shaw, Capt, V. G. Curry, 
Capt, Hercule Barre, and Capt, Emile Ranger. 

During the days of early and mid-August these officers and their 
subordinates worked enthusiastically at the tasks which organization 
and recruiting presented, receiving much assistance from officers and 
men of the parent Militia regiments, many of whom, though unable 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT ■ 1914 



6 

to proceed overseas with the first contingents, planned to follow as 
soon as their obligations permitted. Major W. O. H. Dodds, of the 
Grenadier Guards, w r ho crossed with the First Contingent as Adjutant 
of the 1st Brigade, C.F.A., rendered assistance which officers of the 
Royal Montreal Regiment gratefully remember. 

In addition to organizing and recruiting, the three regiments trained 
conscientiously, both in the armouries and in such open spaces as 
Fletcher’s Field, and the campus of McGill University. Probably the 
most important incident of this period was a review held one night 
on the Champ de Mars by the Minister of Militia, Col. the Hon. Sam 
Hughes. Thunder roared and lightning flashed during the parade, 
rain swept in sheets across (he ground, and the troops, most of whom 
were still in civilian clothes and many of whom had drilled only for 
a day or two, manoeuvred uncertainly, but with anxiety to do well, 
in mud and water ankle deep. From a military standpoint the review 
was a failure, as was the march through the city which followed, but, 
owing perhaps to the rain, the thunder, the lightning, and the mud, a 
strange grimness made itself felt, and that wild August night remains 
as the first occasion on which many of the men realized that days 
of bitterness and testing lay inevitably before them. 

Following the review, independent company training was continued 
for a few days, then, on August 24th, at 10 a.m., the companies of 
the Guards, Victoria Rifles, and Carabiniers de Mont-Royal marched 
from their respective armouries to Fletcher’s Field and combined for 
the first time in battalion drill. Separating again, the three detach- 
ments returned, each to its own armoury, and there put in a busy 
afternoon preparing for a move to the mobilization camp of the First 
Canadian Contingent at Valcartier. 

That evening Montreal gave all its detachments a memorable 
farewell. The Royal Highlanders of Canada marched westward from 
their armoury on Bleury Street to entrain at Windsor Station, while 
the Guards, Victoria Rifles, and Carabiniers de Mont-Royal marched 
eastward from their respective headquarters to the Moreau Street 
Station of the Canadian Northern Railway. As was natural, the 
detachment from the 65th Regiment received an ovation in the 
French-speaking section of the city, but this same section also cheered 
the Guards and Victoria Rifles. No distinctions existed that night. 
Canadian troops were going on active service and the city wished them 
well. Each detachment was applauded and upon the men of each 
were showered cigarettes and sweets in token of good will. Men rushed 
forward to shake the soldiers’ hands and women, too, broke the ranks 



1914 



MOBILIZATION 



repeatedly for a last word of farewell. Once or twice it seemed that 
enthusiastic wellwishers would sweep over a detachment completely, 
but somehow a measure of formation was preserc ed and ee entually 
all three sections reached Moreau Street intact. Here colonist cars 
were waiting, entrainment was quickly carried out, and soon the Roy al 
Montreal Regiment was on its way to Valcartier. Simultaneously, 
the vanguard of the British Army faced German forces near Mons, 
in Belgium. Speaking in the House of Lords on August 25th, Lord 
Kitchener, British Secretary of State for W ar, announced that the 
first clash had occurred. “ Our troops,” he said, “ have already been 
for thirty-six hours in contact with a superior force of German 
invaders. During that time they have maintained the traditions of 
British soldiers and have behaved with the utmost gallantry. 



Ill 

At 7.30 o’clock on the morning of August 25th, the Royal Montreal 
Regiment detrained at Valcartier Mobilization Camp, situated on a 
sandy plain sixteen miles north-west of Quebec. When war broke out 
Valcartier had been an area of small farms, covered in part with low 
bush. On August 8, 1914, transformation of the district began; when 
the Royal Montreal Regiment arrived on August 25th, roads and rail- 
way sidings had been laid, three miles of rifle ranges constructed, water 
and drainage pipes installed, shower baths erected, electric light 
brought in from Quebec, a telephone exchange placed in operation, 
and a great camp brought into being. 

Some thousands of troops had arrived before the Royal Montreal- 
ers and a number of these, who obviously considered themselves “ old 
sweats ”, gathered to cheer ironically as the newcomers, under the 
watchful eye of the Regimental Quartermaster, Capt. H. H. Smith, 
struggled to erect tents. Progress was not as rapid as the Quarter- 
master, a veteran of the South African campaign, thought desirable, 
but at last the task was accomplished, whereupon some distant author- 
ity ordered the tents struck and moved a short distance away. Being 
new to the army, the recruits wondered at this order, which seemed 
purposeless. Old timers, however, soothed them with assurances that 
worse was to come, and these pessimistic prophets acquired honour 
when, the tents having been erected in the new locality, orders were 
received to move them back again. 

For a few days after arrival at Valcartier the Royal Montreal 
Regiment was occupied with routine. As Sir Andrew Macphail in his 
official “ Medical Services ” has observed about Valcartier, “ military 



s 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



training in a general sense was negligible.” Thirty -three thousand 
men, drawn from over two hundred units of the Canadian Militia, 
assembled in the Camp and time was necessarily spent in “ organizing 
and reorganizing, issuing clothing and equipment, examining and inoc- 
ulating recruits, and preparing for reviews ”. Work on the ranges 
was also a feature of Valcartier life, in spite of the prevailing shortage 
of rifles. The Royal Montreal Regiment possessed three hundred rifles 
only, but these were passed from squad to squad and kept in service, 
with the result that every man was taught how a rifle should be 
handled and cared for. Special attention was also given to the 
Machine Gun Section of the Battalion, which, throughout the month 
at Valcartier, trained diligently under the command of Lieut. R. de V. 
Terroux. 

Before the end of the first week in camp the troops were inocu- 
lated against typhoid. In accordance with existing regulations, inocu- 
lation was referred to as a “ voluntary ” measure, but no officer or 
man was permitted to escape. The talented brain which conceived of 
a “ voluntary ” but inescapable inoculation was cursed by the troops, 
who suffered considerable discomfort. Ultimately they benefited, but 
during their temporary misery ultimate benefits were lost to sight, and 
some alarm was caused when, following the second inoculation, eight 
men fainted on parade and required medical attention. 

By the end of August thousands of troops had poured into Valcar- 
tier and organization of a Canadian division was in process. After 
one or two tentative formations had been abandoned, the Royal 
Montreal Regiment, which for some time had been known as the 1st 
Battalion, R.M.R.. was given the title. “ 14th Battalion ”, and placed 
in the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, under the command of Col. 
R. E. W. Turner, V.C., D.S.O., a veteran of the South African War, 
who had won his primary distinction at Komati River, on November 
7, 1900. With the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, in the 
3rd Brigade were the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 
from Montreal; the 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders, from Toronto; 
and the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, composed of units from 
(he Seaforth Highlanders (Vancouver), the Gordon Highlanders (Vic- 
toria), the Cameron Highlanders (Winnipeg), and the Argyll and 
Sutherland Highlanders (Hamilton). These units, commanded respec- 
tively by Lieut.-C'ols. F. 0. W. Loomis, ,T. A. Currie, and R. G. E. 
Leckie, caused the formation to be spoken of as the “ Highland Bri- 
gade. ” and at one time it was suggested that the 14th should doff 
trousers and don the kilt. The incongruity of Grenadiers. Riflemen, 



1914 



MOBILIZATION 



9 



and French-Canadian Infantry in kilts was pointed out, however, and 
the proposal definitely rejected. 

To bring the battalions of the newly formed 3rd Canadian Infantry 
Brigade up to war strength, reinforcements were allotted as required. 
To the 14th Battalion drafts were allotted from the 45th Lindsay 
Regiment (Ontario), the 63rd Rifles (Halifax), and a small detach- 
ment from the Queen’s Own Rifles (Toronto). Lieut. -Col. F. II. 
Hopkins, Commanding Officer of the 45th Lindsay Regiment, accom- 
panied his men and became attached to the 14th Battalion for duty. 
This placed on the Royal Montreal Regiment’s establishment two 
lieutenant -colonels, holding the posts of Commanding Officer and 
Second-in-Command, with a third attached, a situation which might 
have presented difficulties but for the co-operative spirit displayed by 
all concerned. As part of the reorganization at this time, a Base 
Company was established, under the command of Major II. J. Wood- 
side, while additions to the personnel of the Battalion included Canon 
F. G. Scott, of Quebec, who joined as Protestant Chaplain; Capt. A. 
F. C. Winslow, who assumed the duties of Battalion Paymaster; and 
Capt. F. A. C. Scrimger, C.A.M.C., who relieved Capt. H. L. Pavcy. 
C.A.M.C., as Battalion Medical Officer. Although it had been under- 
stood from the beginning that Capt. Pavey’s connection with the 
Battalion was temporary, he had worked hard in examining recruits, 
inoculating the men, and attending to those who reported sick. It 
was with regret, therefore, that the Battalion bade him farewell. 

Promotions amongst the non-commissioned officers took place at 
the same time as the changes mentioned above. Men who showed 
ability in the ranks were promoted whenever possible, and maintained 
in authority when the display of ability continued; when responsi- 
bility proved too much for them they were promptly reduced and 
others given a chance to do better. Typical of the fine spirit animating 
all ranks in regard to promotion was the action of Regimental Ser- 
geant-Major C. B. Price, an officer of the Victoria Rifles, who had 
relinquished his commission to accompany the 14th overseas. Price 
learned that J. M. Stephenson, a regular soldier with wide experience, 
was serving in another unit as a sergeant. Realizing how valuable to 
the Regiment Stephenson would be as R.S.M., Price relinquished his 
post and became a colour-sergeant to permit Stephenson’s appoint- 
ment. 

During the early days of September the Battalion drilled and 
practised at the rifle ranges. Much equipment was issued and many 
of the men were uniformed by September 6th, when H.R.H. the Duke 



10 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



of Connaught reviewed the Contingent in pouring rain. Cold rain 
continued for several days after the review and greatcoats, issued on 
the 8th, were welcome in consequence. Though the rain was far from 
pleasant, the troops used the resulting waters in a cheery little game 
played after dark. The rules of this sport have never been coded, 
but the object is to divert surface water from one’s own tent into the 
tent of one’s next door neighbour. This requires skill and an eye for 
contours. Speed with a shovel and ability to fade silently into the 
dark are also attributes of value. The game is undignified for author- 
ity, of course, and one officer, caught digging a ditch on a rainy night, 
claimed never to have heard of it. He was, he said, laying out a golf 
course. 

On two occasions in September the Battalion took part in 
night outpost schemes during which rivalry was keen. Rumours of 
fists flying, black eyes, and missing teeth drifted back to Headquar- 
ters, but no official action was invited. Similarly, the authorities were 
“ without information ” one night when troops in the camp, annoyed 
by broken promises in regard to change of programme, cut the ropes 
of a “ movie ” tent and flopped the whole affair down on the owner’s 
head. The wreckage took fire, flames lit up the sky, and all over the 
camp bugles sounded the alarm. Fortunately, the owner was rescued 
from under the blazing canvas without serious injury. 

Issues of material and equipment continued through September, 
service uniforms gradually replacing the militia uniforms and mufti 
in which the troops had reached camp. As a result of these issues, 
the men presented a smart appearance when reviewed by H.R.H. the 
Duke of Connaught on September 20th. Departure of the Contingent 
was imminent by this time and many people were visiting the camp 
to wish the troops good-bye, among them being H.R.H. the Duchess 
of Connaught, H.R.H. the Princess Patricia, The Right Honourable 
Sir Robert Borden, and many of the heads of Church and State. The 
parade, therefore, was memorable, and improvement in the bearing 
of the troops was noted, particularly when the units marched past in 
columns of half battalions in line. The march past of thirty thou- 
sand men is always an impressive sight, but this occasion had special 
significance, as Canada’s royal Governor-General was reviewing the 
First Contingent for the last time. Of all present, probably the Duke 
of Connaught was best fitted to judge what the men would have to 
face in European war. He knew something of Continental armies and 
knew that victory would exact the outpouring of endless blood and 
tears. With emotion, therefore, he bade the troops, “God speed”. 



1914 



MOBILIZATION 



l] 



Though His Royal Highness had some impression of the hostili- 
ties which lay ahead, few of the men could visualize the shock of 
vast armies, and none contemplated the stalemate of trench warfare. 
Discussion of the probable course of events was endless and fascina- 
ting. One N.C.O., writing at this time, sums up the opinion held by 
his small group of friends. “All expect,” he says, “ two or three weeks 
in England, some time on lines of communication, and a winter of 
sieges of some fortress on the German frontier. Of course it may be 
quite different, but that is the general guess.” Things were different ; 
but only in the light of later knowledge is that letter fantastic. In 
September, 1914, after the victory of the Allied armies at the Marne, 
the forecast it contained seemed reasonable. 

Following the Duke of Connaught’s farewell review, re-attestation 
of the men for overseas service was expedited, as the day when the 
Contingent must sail was fast approaching. No sailing date was 
publicly announced, but all news from the camp was suddenly cen- 
sored and this was correctly interpreted by the Canadian people to 
mean that the Contingent was on the move. For the 14th Battalion, 
which at this time numbered 46 officers and 1,097 other ranks, the 
move began on the afternoon of September 25th, when Nos. 1, 2, 3, 7 
and 8 Companies, under Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen, proceeded by train 
to Quebec and boarded the Cunard liner Alaunia, which was also 
carrying the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, the Head- 
quarters of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, and A.S.C. Details 
(Divisional Train). Nos. 4, 5 and 6 Companies of the Battalion, and 
the Base Company, remained in camp till the morning of September 
28th, when, under command of Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland, they fol- 
lowed their comrades to Quebec and embarked on the S.S. Andania, 
together with the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish. 

Both the Alaunia, commanded by Capt. Rostron, R.N.R., and the 
Andania, commanded by Capt. G. W. Melsom, R.N.R., swung into 
mid-stream once the troops were on board and, with other transports, 
lay beneath the walls of the towering Citadel awaiting orders to sail. 
Much of Canadian history those old walls had witnessed, as French- 
men and Englishmen fought bitterly to possess them and, dying, gave 
to them undying fame. Now t the descendants of those who had fought 
one another were united to fight a common foe. Perhaps the sailing 
of the First Contingent marked more significantly than any previous 
event the fact that the old wounds no longer smarted. 



CHAPTER II 



THE FIRST CONTINGENT 



And captains that we thought were dead. 
And dreamers that we thought were dumb, 
And voices that we thought were fled, 
Arise, and call us, and we come. 



— Alfred Noyes. 



I 



TE on the afternoon of September 30th the Alaunia and 



Andania, together with other transports, weighed anchor and 



slipped downstream. Crowds lined the Dufferin Terrace and 
storms of cheering swept from shore drawing answering cheers from 
the troops on deck. Bands played; and suddenly there thundered over 
the waters from the ships a mighty chorus of voices singing “ 0 
Canada ” and “Auld Lang Syne.” Soon, however, this chorus faded 
away as the ships gathered speed and headed for their secret desti- 



Once Quebec had been left behind, the troops on both ships settled 
down to enjoy the comfortable quarters allotted to them. Rumours 
of a rendezvous at Father Point aroused keen interest, but in the 
morning Father Point was passed and at night the destination of the 
vessels was still unknown. Morning on October 2nd, however, dis- 
closed the secret. Gaspe Basin had been chosen as a rendezvous for 
the ships carrying the Canadian Contingent and in this safe and beau- 
tiful harbour the Alaunia and Andania joined a great fleet of trans- 
ports and men-o’-war. Attempts have been made to describe the 
gathering of the convoy in Gaspe Basin, but for the most part they 
have failed. All who witnessed the scene were impressed; but only a 
gifted tongue, or pen, could convey a sense of the majesty, power, 
pride, and dominion which emanated from the long lines of ships as 
they lay at anchor in the bright autumn sunshine, or in the dark 
shadows of the surrounding hills. 

On October 2nd, and during the forenoon of the 3rd, the Alaunia 
and Andania lay quietly with the rest of the fleet awaiting the hour 
to sail. Col. the lion. Sam Hughes visited both ships to bid the troops 
good-bye, and took away with him letters and postcards for the mail. 
These were not censored, indiscretion endangering the convoy being 




nation. 



1914 



rHE FIRST CONTINGENT 



guarded against by the simple expedient of holding them until the 
Contingent had arrived in England. 

On the afternoon of October 3rd the transports steamed from 
Gaspe Basin and formed up in three parallel columns, about a mile 
and three-quarters of water being maintained between columns and 
each ship occupying a position approximately a half-mile behind the 
one in front. All dispositions were effected under the supervision of 
Rear-Admiral R. E. Wemyss, C.M.G., M.Y.O., who commanded a 
squadron, including at one time or another His Majesty's Ships 
Charybdis, Diana, Lancaster, Eclipse, Glory, Majestic, and Talbot. 
With this escort the troops feared no attack, though the speed of the 
convoy, governed by the slowest vessel, was little above 10 knots. 



CONVOY OF THE FIRST CANADIAN CONTINGENT 
As on 10th October, 191S 



H.M.S. Eclipse 

Meg antic 
Ruthenia 
"3 Bermudian 
J 5 A L ACNI A 
Ivernia 

cc 

5 Scandinavian 
•S Sicilian 
■V Montezuma 
^ Lapland 
^ Cassandra 
^ Florizel 

(Carrying New- 
foundland Con- 
tingent) 



H.M.S. Majestic 

H.M.S. Diana 

Monmouth 

Caribbean 

Athenia 

Royal Edward 

Franconia 

Canada 

(Carrying 2nd 
Battalion, Lin- 
colnshire Regt.) 

Manitou 
Tyrolia 
T unisian 
La uren tic 



H.M.S. Charybdis 

Scotian 

Arcadian 

Zeeland 

Corinthian 

Virginian 

AN DAN I A 

Saxonia 

Grampian 

Lakonia 

Montreal 

Royal George 



H.M.S. Talbot 

On the whole the voyage of the Contingent was uneventful. Life- 
boat drills were frequent and much time was devoted to physical 
training, boxing, signalling, and deck sports of all varieties. On the 
Alavnia a spy scare caused the arrest of two men, both of whom, at a 
later date, were publicly exonerated. On the Andania an event of 



14 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



(lie voyage was the appearance of a Regimental paper, “The Four- 
teenth Battalion Bugler ”. The two issues of this journal, edited by 
Private C. D. B. Whitby, late of the Montreal “ Gazette ”, with the 
assistance of Private H. G. Brewer, late of the Montreal “ Star ”, 
were creditably produced and enjoyed a flattering circulation. They 
contained, amongst other items, copies of the ship’s log, challenges 
to men of the 16th Battalion for boxing and shooting matches, gossip 
of the voyage, verse, and a black bordered paragraph announcing 
the death of “ Vic ”, a cheery pup of doubtful lineage who had served 
as the Victoria Rifles’ semi-oflicial mascot. In view of the talent dis- 
played in producing “ The Bugler,” Private Whitby was requested to 
act as Regimental Historian and to preserve an unofficial record of 
the Battalion’s adventures and vicissitudes on active service. Much 
to the Regiment’s regret, Private Whitby died as a result of wounds 
received at the Second Battle of Ypres, the history he had so faith- 
fully compiled being destroyed by shell fire during the same engage- 
ment. 

On October 5th a supposed German collier was encountered by 
the convoy and two days later the Glory stopped a Scandinavian 
tramp with several shots across the bows. These vessels were sus- 
pected of supporting the German cruiser Karlsruhe, which was at large 
in the Atlantic, but, so far as the troops could gather, no proof was 
forthcoming. After a week at sea certain supplies ran short. On the 
Andania cigarette stocks were exhausted, and cheese was substituted 
for butter and jam. Flour, too, was lacking, but each day a fatigue 
party was told off to grind up a few bushels of w r heat. The “ flour ” 
so manufactured could not be mistaken for the refined product of 
Canadian mills, but, as someone pointed out, the resulting bread, if 
not particularly palatable, was wonderful stuff to fight on. a recom- 
mendation which did much to popularize it with the troops. 

On October 13th, when nearing the coast of England, one of the 
armed transports fired a few rounds to test the mounting of a gun, 
whereupon smoke appeared at a half dozen points on the horizon, as 
small craft of His Majesty’s Navy searched for trouble. A more 
striking demonstration of the care with which the Contingent was 
being guarded and of the British control in home waters could hardly 
have been afforded. Land was sighted that evening and on the follow- 
ing morning the Alaunia steamed into Plymouth Sound. Arrange- 
ments had been made to dock the convoy at Southampton, but, to 
baffle German submarines, plans had been changed. The arrival of 
t he Alaunia, therefore, was the first indication that the troops from 



1914 



15 



THE 




UW>T COXTIM-iENT 



overseas were to disembark at Plymouth. Much has been written of 
the arrival of the Canadians in England; too much could not be 
written of the warm welcome which Plymouth extended. A first 
greeting came from the historic wooden war vessels in the Sound, the 
training crews on board manning the sides and rigging and cheering 
as ship after ship steamed majestically into harbour. Cheering con- 
tinued as the ships dropped anchor, or moved up the Sound to Devon- 
port. Factory whistles then joined in the welcome and church bells 
gave to the occasion that solemn touch which has etched it deeply on 
so many memories. The arrival of the Contingent was an historic 
event, as Plymouth was well aware, but civic pride never prompted 
that demonstration, the fact being, according to local newspapers, 
that the old city experienced a thrill equal to the one it enjoyed when 
Drake shattered the Spanish Armada. The loyalty of Canada, indi- 
cated by the arrival of thrice ten thousand fighting men, touched 
England's heart, and Plymouth, representing England, bade the Cana- 
dians welcome. 

The Alaunia reached Plymouth first of all the convoy, but the 
Andania was only a few hours behind and both ships anchored for 
the night in Plymouth Harbour. Here the troops were deeply inter- 
ested in powerful searchlights, which flashed across the water, or sent 
their long, white beams groping into the blackness of the sky. After 
the ocean voyage, during which lights had been forbidden and vision 
at night dependent on the whim of the October moon, the brilliantly 
lighted transports, the searchlights, the constantly winking signal 
lamps, and the glow from myriad lights ashore afforded a spectacle 
fascinating in the extreme. 

Morning brought new sights and interests. A great dreadnought 
lay at anchor not far from the Andania, provisioning and fitting for 
some special service; tugs and small craft darted about on urgent- 
business; and one by one the Canadian transports were towed upstream 
to Devonport. Both the Alaunia and Andania were docked during the 
afternoon and without delay much dunnage was enthusiastically 
dumped ashore. This scandalized the dockyard authorities, who 
ordered the troops to carry all material back on board and to keep 
it there until word to land it was given officially. 

While at Devonport the Royal Montreal Regiment landed on 
one occasion for a route march through the town. Everywhere the 
Battalion was accorded a magnificent reception, and gifts were 
showered on the men as during the farewell march through the 
streets of Montreal. On returning to the ships, the men were 




16 THE 'RO V'Aiy MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



ordered not to go ashore without permission, nor in any case beyond 
the limits of the dockyard. Idleness and desire to see more of the 
town prompted disobedience, however, and a number of men were 
noticed by officers in the city streets. How these individuals had 
passed the dockyard sentries was a puzzle at first, but the secret 
was disclosed when an officer came into the yard just as a “ military 
party,” under an X.C.O., marched smartly out, apparently on the 
King’s business'. Curiosity as to the services which His Majesty 
might require prompted the officer to ask questions, his’ investigation 
revealing that the “ military party ” was composed of enterprising 
individuals who, yearning to sample more of the town's abundant 
hospitality, had combined forces to deceive the guardians of the 
dockyard gate. , 

When the Canadians arrived in England command of the Division 
wa> assumed by Lieut. -Gen. E. A. H. Alderson, C.B., a British soldier 
with a distinguished record gained in India, Egypt, and South Africa. 
This officer demonstrated his interest in his new command by visit- 
ing Devonport during disembarkation of the troops, meeting as many 
officers as possible, and exchanging a word with many of the men. 
Disembarkation of the 14th Battalion commenced on the evening 
of October 15th when Xos. 1, 2. 3, 7 and 8 Companies landed from 
the Alaunia and marched to Plymouth Railway Station. Entraining 
here, the companies travelled all night, detraining at Patney Station 
shortly after dawn on the 16th and marching for about three hours 
across Salisbury Plain to West Down South. Tented lines were 
ready at this spot and were gratefully occupied by the men, whom 
the long sea voyage had softened and who, in consequence, were 
weary after the night journey in cramped quarters and the ten mile 
pre-breakfast march across the Plain. 

Meanwhile Nos. 4, 5 and (i Companies and the Base Company 
of the Regiment remained at Devonport on the Andania. Disem- 
barking at 9.30 p.m. on October 18th, these companies entrained at 
midnight and, reaching Patney Station early on the morning of the 
19th, marched across the Plain lo rejoin their comrades at West Down 
South. With the arrival of this detachment and of the Transport, 
which, under the command of Lieut. J. F. Adams, had crossed the 
ocean in the Montreal, the Battalion became a co-ordinated unit 
once more and settled down, together with the whole Canadian 
Division to train for service at the front. While the 14th was in 
camp on Salisbury Plain, Divisional Orders contained the announce- 



1914 



THE FIRST CONTINGENT 



17 



ment that the Right Honourable Lord Mount Stephen, G.C.V.O., had 
accepted appointment as the Regiment’s Honorary Colonel. This 
post Lord Mount Stephen held during the entire period of the Bat- 
talion’s overseas career. 



II 

Salisbury Plain, selected as the training ground for the Canadian 
Division in England, is a desolate region fifteen by twenty-five miles 
in extent. Devoid of fencing, or houses, it provides a magnificent 
area for summer manoeuvres, or for practice by artillery, but Nature 
never intended it to be used as a camp for troops in winter. A thin, 
clay soil covers the Plain, and beneath this lies a stratum of chalk, 
impervious to water. During rain, therefore, the Plain becomes a 
quagmire of glutinous and squelching mud. The stay of the Cana- 
dian Division extended through the wettest winter England had 
experienced in over fifty years; consequently the troops endured 
hardships and misery which tested their courage and endurance to 
the utmost. That they came through the ordeal without losing 
morale speaks for the spirit which animated them. 

Even before the arrival of the Andania contingent at West Down 
South, the I4th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, suffered its 
first casualty on English soil when Private Hartley, batman to 
Major P. R. Hanson, dropped dead on a road near the Regimental 
lines. A coroner’s inquest brought in a verdict of death from heart 
failure, and the body was buried on the 20th of the month in 
Shrewton Churchyard. 

Fine weather prevailed for the first few days at West Down 
South and advantage of this was taken in every way possible. 
Lieut. -Gen. Alderson, the Divisional Commander, inspected the 3rd 
Brigade on October 21st, and afterwards, in a soldierly speech from 
horseback, introduced himself to the men, who cheered his announce- 
ment that at Salisbury the “ wet ” canteen system would prevail. 
At Valcartier, owing possibly to the strong prohibition beliefs held 
by the Canadian Minister of Militia, Col. the Hon. Sam Hughes, 
all canteens had been “ dry,” despite dissatisfaction among the troops. 

Three days after General Alderson’s inspection of the 3rd Brigade, 
the Canadian Division was reviewed by its Honorary Colonel, Field 
Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar, V.C. No British soldier was 



18 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1914 



more popular than this veteran, and the troops endeavoured by the 
warmth of their welcome to prove that his services in South Africa 
and elsewhere had not been forgotten. Unfortunately, his review 
was somewhat marred by heavy rain. 

Following Lord Roberts’s visit, the 14th Battalion Diary states 
that company training was carried out, several long route marches 
took place, and, on one occasion, battalion manoeuvres in extended 
order familiarized the troops with the mud which was to play such 
a part in their lives during the months still to come. On November 
2nd the Canadian Division, drawn up in line of battalions in mass 
on both sides of the road from Bustard to West Down South, spent 
three hours practising for a review by His Majesty the King. Rain 
poured fluring the rehearsal and the men were drenched to the skin. 
All, however, were anxious to do well before the King and took the 
cold discomfort in good part. 

In the 14th Battalion November 3rd was declared a holiday in 
order that the troops might dry their sodden clothes. No fires were 
possible and rain hindered the process, so that tunics and clothing 
were still damp on the following day when the Division paraded 
before the King, the Queen, Lord Roberts, Lord Kitchener, and 
their respective staffs. Glorious sunshine welcomed the King on 
this occasion, but the rain of the previous fortnight had left its 
mark on the troops, with the result that there was much coughing 
in the ranks. This was too much for the colour-sergeant of one 
company, who, as the King approached, turned on his men despair- 
ingly. “Shut up!” he hissed, “or the King will think you’re a 
company of consumptives.” Pride triumphed in response to this 
anguished appeal and, as the King eyed the rigid, motionless, and 
silent ranks, no suggestion of consumptive inferiority was conveyed 
to him. 

In mid-November it was announced that Field Marshal Earl 
Roberts, Y.C., Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Contingent, had 
died in France after an illness lasting but a few hours. On 
November 19th a memorial service for the dead Field Marshal was 
held in Salisbury Cathedral, the Royal Montreal Regiment, as a 
mark of respect, sending a detachment of 26 other ranks, under 
the command of Lieut. A. S. English, and Battalion Headquarters 
being represented by the Second-in-Command, Lieut.-Col. W. W . 
Burland. In view of Lord Roberts’s visits to Salisbury and of the 



1914 



THE FIRST CONTINGENT 



19 



compliment he had paid the Contingent in becoming its Honorary 
Colonel, regret at news of his death was widespread and sincere. 

Several night outpost schemes formed part of the Battalion’s 
work in November, some friction resulting one night when a 
defending force held up a number of civilian motor cars, and some 
amusement on another occasion when a nervous sentry ordered an 
enemy party to advance and give the “ Concordia,” his side after- 
wards wondering how the enemy had learned the password and 
penetrated the defending lines. In addition to night outpost work, 
the November training included route marches, on one of which a 
Battalion bugle band made its first appearance; manoeuvres, to 
instruct the troops in taking cover from enemy aircraft; and a 
Divisional field day, which General Alderson directed by signals 
sounded on a huntsman’s horn. On November 29th and 30th little 
of interest can have happened, the Battalion Diary entry consisting 
in each case of the single word “ Rain.” 

Bad weather continued during December and life in the flooded 
tents became miserable in the extreme. As one letter writer feel- 
ingly put it, “ Things over here are not pretty wet, they are most 
blighted soaking.” He might have added comment on the pene- 
trating quality of the prevailing wind, which, another writer observed, 
made it “ too cold to bathe outside,” a disadvantage as it was also 
“ too crowded to bathe in the tents.” Such conditions, which inter- 
fered with all training and rendered outdoor recreation impossible, 
seriously endangered the health of the troops and eventually a move 
was made from the tents at West Down South to huts at Lark Hill. 
The 14th Battalion moved on December 21st, and no one was sorry 
to leave the soaking tents behind. The huts were not unduly 
commodious, but they were rain-proof and provided the men when 
off duty with shelter and a spot where they could partly dry their 
saturated clothes. 

Meanwhile several events concerned the Battalion more or less 
directly. Early in the month General Alderson proposed to a group 
of senior officers of the 3rd Brigade that distinctive battalion badges 
in the Division should be eliminated and the troops permitted to 
wear battalion numerals only. This struck at traditions which 
many of the Canadian battalions valued, and Lieut.-Col. J. A. 
Currie, of the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders), Toronto, presented 
the respectful protest of all officers present. Recognizing that he 



20 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1914 



had stirred up a hornets’ nest, General Alderson withdrew his pro- 
posal and the badges remained. 

On December 17th the Royal Montreal Regiment prepared to 
move at short notice to an un-named point in England. German 
warships had shelled Scarborough and for some time the possibility 
of invasion was entertained. Soon, however, it became clear that 
the shelling was merely an expression of German “hate” and the 
stand-to order at West Down South was accordingly cancelled. On 
the day following this incident Lieut.-Col. Meighen temporarily 
assumed command of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade, Col. 
Turner, the Brigadier, having suffered injury in a motor accident. 
During Lieut.-Col. Meighen’s absence command of the 14th Battalion 
passed to Major A. C. Shaw, as Lieut.-Col. Burland, Second-in- 
Command, was on duty at Hayling Island. 

After the move of the 14th Battalion to Lark Hill came the 
Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Many officers and men were 
granted leave over one or other of the dates. Those remaining on 
duty decorated the huts, ordered parcels of special food and drink 
from London, organized sing-song hut parties, and endeavoured to 
forget for a few hours the constant rain, the all-pervading mud, and 
the endless digging and draining which the atrocious weather made 
necessary. Ordinary training during this period was impossible and 
recreation of any kind difficult to arrange. A few choice spirits on 
one occasion organized a broomstick rabbit hunt to relieve the 
appalling monotony. The pursuit led to trespass on private ground, 
whose indignant keepers obviously regarded the intrusion as a 
striking example of overseas lawlessness. Other landowners adopted 
a more friendly attitude and spared no pains to make the Canadians 
feel at home. 

On Christmas Eve Capt. A. Sylvestre, Roman Catholic Chaplain 
of the Battalion, celebrated Mass in a hut occupied by the French- 
Canadian soldiers from the Carabiniers de Mont-Royal, and on New 
Year’s Eve Major E. G. Scott, Protestant Chaplain of the Regiment, 
held a celebration of Holy Communion in Amesbury Parish Church. 
Each of these services was impressive, the former owing to the 
simple dignity with which Mass was celebrated in such strange 
surroundings, the latter because of the solemnity of the service and 
the hour. As the bells of the church rang out across the moonlit 
and frost-whitened fields, 1914 faded into history and the Empire 
faced its first New Year of the War. 



1915 



THE FIRST CONTINGENT 



21 



III 



On January 1st, 1915, and for some days thereafter, the Battalion 
Diary records “ all available men on fatigues.” As in December, 
training throughout the month was seriously hampered by rain, 
floods, and the heart-breaking mud, but, whenever outdoor w<ork 
was quite impossible, lectures and instruction were substituted, 
Lieut. -Col. Burland lecturing to the officers on “Discipline”; 
General McCracken on “Active Service”; General Turner on 
“How to Combat Disease”; and Capt. E. W. Pope, of the 3rd 
Brigade Staff, on “ Military Law.” Other lectures were delivered, 
but particularly interesting to all ranks was a series of “ Notes,” 
with up-to-date information regarding the developments of trench 
warfare in France. Coming “ hot from the battlefield,” these notes 
were eagerly studied by officers and men alike. 

During January the Battalion was reorganized on a four company 
basis. Once previously this reorganization had been effected, but, 
after a short trial, the old formation had been restored. Under the new 
system, now definitely adopted, the Battalion consisted of four 
companies instead of eight, each company being composed of four 
platoons, under a lieutenant, and each platoon of four sections, under 
an X.C.O. Command of the new double companies, Nos. 1, 2, 3 
and 4, was given respectively to Major A. C. Shaw, Major P. R. 
Hanson, Major Gault McCombe, and Major Hercule Barre. who 
had as their seconds-in-command Capt. J. N. Warminton, Capt. R. 
Steacie, Capt. V. G. Curry, and Capt. E. Ranger. Major Shaw’s 
company was formed by combining old Nos. 1 and 5, which had 
been recruited by the Guards and Victoria Rifles respectively; 
Major Hanson’s company was made up from old Nos. 2 and 3, 
which were Guards units; Major McCombe’s company was com- 
posed of old Nos. 4 and 6, from the Victoria Rifles; and Major 
Barre’s company absorbed old Nos. 7 and 8, from the Carabiniers 
de Mont-Royal. 

In mid-January Lieut.-Gen. E. A. II. Alderson, the Divisional 
Commander, visited the Battalion lines and assured the men that 
before long they would be on the way to France. This announce- 
ment was heartily cheered, as all ranks were weary of the mud of 
Salisbury Plain and eager to reach the front. Cerebro-spinal men- 
ingitis, a few cases of which had occurred previously, increased at 



22 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



this time and threatened for a while to hold the Division in England. 
Private .1. K. Chandler, of the 14th, developed the disease on January 
19th and died in hospital four days later. Corp. S. A. Randall died 
on January 30th. Meanwhile the huts where theSe soldiers had lived 
were rigidly quarantined, as were all affected huts throughout the 
Division. Altogether 39 cases occurred in the Contingent between 
December 13th and February 10th, 28 of these proving fatal. 

On February 1st Lieut.-Col. F. II. Hopkins, who was attached 
to the Royal Montreal Regiment, transferred to the 17th Reserve 
Battalion. Next day Major II. Barre, of No. 4 Company, proceeded 
to France with an advance party from the 3rd Canadian Infantry 
Brigade, this move assuring the troops that a crossing of the Channel 
was really imminent, and further confirmation being provided by 
notice that His Majesty the King would come to Salisbury on 
February 4th to bid the Division farewell. On February 2nd Lieut.- 
Col. Meighen reconnoitred the ground where the review was to be 
held, and on the 4th, wearing greatcoats because of inclement weather, 
the Battalion paraded for the royal inspection. After walking down 
the line, the King took up station to receive the salute, and, follow- 
ing the march past, the troops lined the railway track to cheer the 
royal train. During the progress of the train through the ranks the 
King, at a window, acknowledged the cheers with his hand at the 
salute. It was obvious to those who could see his features that he 
was touched by the loyal demonstration accorded him. 

Following the King’s farewell, the Battalion prepared for the 
move to France. A number of men were found medically unfit for 
active service and transferred to reserve formations, a draft from 
the 17th Reserve Battalion being taken on strength to fill the vacant 
places. Adoption of the four company system had left the Battalion 
with a surplus of officers and on February 5th, greatly to their 
disappointment, Lieuts. W. M. Pearce, F. R. Houston, C. \Y. Stairs, 
G. L. Stairs, W. C. Brotherhood, and E. Leprohon were ordered with 
the Base Company into reserve at Tidworth Barracks. Following 
the departure of these officers and the Base Company, Capt. A. P. 
Holt, the Battalion Adjutant, developed pneumonia and Lieut, H. 
A. Thompson was appointed Acting Adjutant in his stead, Lieut. 
Brotherhood being recalled from Tidworth to complete the estab- 
lishment. On February 8th the Battalion received orders to be ready 
to move in 24 hours. With all dispositions effected, the Regiment 
stood by on the following day, Headquarters, the companies, and 



1915 



THE FIRST CONTINGENT 



23 



sub- formations being under the following officers, who were to com- 
mand the unit in France. 

Officers of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment 

February 9th, 1915 

Officer Commanding Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen 

Second-in-Command Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland 

Acting Adjutant Lieut. FT. A. Thompson 

Quartermaster Capt. H. H. Smith 

Machine Gun Officer Lieut. G. M. Williamson 

Medical Officer Capt. H. A. Boyd 

Paymaster Capt. F. B. D. Larken 

Protestant Chaplain Major F. G. Scott 

(Officially, Major Scott was 
attached to a medical unit.) 

Roman Catholic Chaplain. .. Capt. A. Sylvestre 
No. 1 Company 

Major A. C. Shaw, Capt. J. N. Warminton, Lieuts. R. W. Frost, 

R. de V. Terroux, C. F. C. Porteous, and J. F. Adams (Transport 
Officer) . 

No. 2 Company 

Major P. R. Hanson, Capt. R. Steacie, Lieuts. A. S. English, 
W. K. Knubley, W. C. Brotherhood, and K. L. McCuaig (Signalling 
Officer) . 

No. 3 Company 

Major Gault McCombe, Capt, V. G. Curry, Lieuts. W. D. Adams, 

S. Grant, W. H. Draper, and E. A. Whitehead. 

No. 4 Company 

Major Hercule Barre (already in France), Capt. Emile Ranger, 
Lieuts. H. DesRosiers, R. DeSerres, R. Roy, and H. Quintal. 

In Reserve 

Lieuts. W. M. Pearce, F. R. Heuston, G. W. Stairs, G. L. Stairs, 
and E. Leprohon. Attached to British Units:— Lieuts. A. F. Major 
and W. A. Kirkconnell. Sick:— Capt. F. A. C. Scrimger (Medical 
Officer), Capt. A. P. Holt (Adjutant), and Lieut. W. K. de Kappelle. 



CHAPTER III 



FROM SALISBURY PLAIN TO TRENCHES 

IN FRANCE 



Broke to every known mischance, lifted over all 
By the light sane joy of life, the buckler of the Gaul ; 

First to follow Truth and last to leave old Truths behind — 

France, beloved of every soul that loves its fellow-kind ! 

Where did you refrain from us or we refrain from you ? 

Ask the wave that has not watched war between us two ! 

Others held us for a while, but with weaker charms, 

These we quitted at the call for each other’s arms. 

— Rudyard Kipling. 

B ETWEEN the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight on February 10th, 
1915, the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, paraded 
in full marching order at Lark Hill, and moved off in several 
detachments to Amesbury Station. Secrecy had been maintained as 
to the exact hour of departure and fewspectators witnessed the unit’s 
farewell to Salisbury Plain, but several officers, who had been trans- 
ferred to reserve formations, were present to wish their comrades good 
luck and God-speed. Something of the regret with which these super- 
numeraries saw the Regiment leave for active service is reflected in 
the diary of a French-Canadian officer who writes, “ Saw my dear 
Regiment march off to the front. How badly I feel to see them go 
and leave me here Regret, however, was not the keynote of the 
occasion. Officers and men rejoiced that the weary months of train- 
ing were over and that the Division was on the move, presumably to 
France, though even this was not certain. All of which the men felt 
sure was that they were proceeding to Amesbury Station, there to 
entrain for an unnamed destination. 

Marching through the blackness of a cool, fine night, the detach- 
ments of the 14th reached Amesbury and entrained without incident, 
or misadventure, the trains moving out shortly afterwards and reach- 
ing Avonmouth Dock early on the morning of February 11th. At 
Avonmouth the Battalion embarked at once on the transport Austra- 
lind, a captured German cargo and cattle steamer of some 4,000 tons, 
commanded by Captain Sidney Angell. With the 14th on board was 
the 1st Canadian Heavy Battery, under the command of Major F. C. 
Magee. Accommodation on the Australind was distinctly limited; 
officers occupying the few cabins that existed and the men, in the 



1915 



SALISBURY TO FRANCE 



25 



words of one diary, being “ crowded into holds, hatchways, and 
empty horse stalls “ Gone ”, continues this record, “ are the pala- 
tial quarters of the Andania. Here there is a smell of horses; dust is 
plentiful, and rats promenade on the pipes above our heads; but things 
like that bother us very little these days 

After lying all day and all night in dock at Avonmouth, the 
Australind, escorted by destroyers, sailed early on the morning of 
February 12th. The weather was fine at first and, after a short 
inspection by Lieut.-Col. W. W. Borland, those men not on duty 
were allowed to sleep, rest, or amuse themselves as they saw fit. 
Towards night a wind sprang up and this, increasing to a gale by 
the morning of the 13th, 1 whipped up a wild cross-sea which pitched 
and rolled the boat to such an extent that few on board escaped 
severe sea-sickness. To add to the resulting discomfort, cold waves 
broke over the deck and poured onto the miserable men in the holds, 
while one of the horses, breaking loose from its stall, stumbled down 
*an open hatch and crashed to its death on the deck below. No one 
was injured by the fall of this animal, but later a great wave broke 
over the ship, caught an artilleryman off guard on the upper deck, 
swept him along like a piece of matchwood, and killed him by dash- 
ing his head against an iron stanchion. 

Warned by this misfortune, all men who had occasion during the 
remainder of the day to move about on deck did so with extreme 
caution. On February 14th the weather moderated and at noon the 
body of the unfortunate artilleryman was committed to the sea, Canon 
Sylvestre, Roman Catholic Chaplain of the 14th, reading the burial 
service, and military honours being paid by members of the dead 
man’s unit and by officers and men of the 14th, who stood respect- 
fully by. 

That night the coast of France was sighted and early on the 
morning of February 15th French destroyers picked up the Austra- 
lind and escorted her into the outer harbour of St. Nazaire, where the 
Canadian Division was to land. Shortly after noon, the Australind 
passed through a narrow lock into the inner harbour and docked at 
a wharf, opening with no barrier onto a street of the town. Natur- 
ally, the French city interested the men greatly, particularly as the 
townspeople welcomed the ship by tossing up onto the decks oranges, 
sweets, and other tokens of good will. Enthusiasm doubled when the 
good citizens found that a number of the men on board spoke French 
and were, actually, of French descent. The arrival in France of 
British troops who claimed France as the land of their forefathers 



20 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



was an event appealing to that sense of the dramatic which is the 
birthright of the Gaul. Unfortunately, or fortunately, perhaps, if 
one regards the matter from a military point of view, strict orders 
kept the troops from landing and accepting much proffered hospi- 
tality, and His Majesty’s Transport regulations prevented the friendly 
citizens from bringing their offerings on board. 

While docking, the men of the 14th caught sight of some blue- 
coated, red-trousered soldiers of France, who with long bayoneted 
rifles were guarding the docks, or, off duty, lounging about in the 
crowd. Were these the men who had fought those fierce frontier 
fights marking the first clash of the opposing armies, or were they 
the men who had, with the assistance of Sir John French’s immortal 
“ Contemptibles ”, hurled the Germans back from the Marne? Groups 
of the Royal Montrealers eyed the Frenchmen respectfully, noting 
their behaviour and bearing with the deepest interest. This interest 
was maintained until someone noticed a working group of German 
prisoners. In a moment the blue uniforms were forgotten and all 
eyes turned to study the men in grey. The Frenchmen were allies, 
which was important, but the prisoners represented those whom the 
Canadians were to fight against. Prisoners of war, poor devils, seldom 
appear impressive, and the group which the Royal Montrealers now 
studied so carefully provided no exception to the general rule. As a 
result the men of the 14th Battalion carried to the front a vivid recol- 
lection of the only German troops they had ever seen and a quiet, 
but definite, sense of superiority. 

At about 3.30 p.m. unloading of the Australind began, numerous 
working parties of the 14th taking part in the consequent fatigues. 
In the evening goatskin trench coats, fingerless gloves, and mufflers 
were issued, and an advance party of 50 men, under Lieut. R. W. 
Frost, proceeded by train towards the front. Unloading continued 
throughout the night and was completed about dawn. Then, at 
6 a. m., the Battalion paraded alongside the ship and marched a short 
distance to St. Nazaire railway station, entraining in box cars (the 
famous 40 homines, 8 ehevaux) at this point, and leaving for rail- 
head shortly thereafter. One passenger coach, attached to the train, 
was reserved for the use of officers. 

All day on February 16th, that night, and again on February 17th, 
the train trundled slowly forward, through Nantes, Rouen, Calais, 
Boulogne, and other towns of but slightly less importance. Stops 
were frequent, these being welcome to the troops, who appreciated 
any opportunity to stretch their cramped legs. At nearly every halt 



1915 



SALISBURY TO FRANCE 



27 

the French-Canadians of No. 4 Company surprised and delighted 
the townspeople, who kindly supplied refreshments, by singing those 
old French songs so beloved and so well known in the Province of 
Quebec. “ Tipperary ” and “ Annie Laurie ” the wayside Frenchman 
associated with the travelling British Army. “Alouette ” and “ En 
Roulant ma Boule ”, sung by men in khaki, touched his emotions and 
aroused his sympathies. Good wishes and blessings, therefore, show- 
ered on the Royal Montrealers as the train crept towards the front. 

II 

At 6 a.m. on February 18th the 14th Battalion detrained at Haze- 
brouck, picked up the advance party, under Lieut. R. \Y. Frost, and 
marched to Fletre, passing the Headquarters of the 3rd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade in Caestre, and encountering H.R.H. Prince Arthur 
of Connaught, who rode along the column during one of its brief 
halts. Two features of this march are mentioned in many diaries 
and letters dealing with the time. On the march the Battalion suf- 
fered its first experience of the famous pave roads of France. The 
word “ suffered ” is used advisedly, for the pave blistered heels and 
toes to such an extent that many men were limping badly before the 
Battalion reached its destination. No complaints were recorded, 
however, as, during the march, a low, muttering, rumbling sound 
drifted back from some point far ahead. Unmistakably, it was the 
thunder of distant guns. Hearts leaped, and a shiver of excitement 
ran through the ranks. Who could complain of a blistered heel when 
guns were firing but a few miles over the horizon? 

Arriving in Fletre, the men of the 14th were billeted in the village, 
or in the barns and outbuildings of neighbouring farms. Battalion 
H.Q. was established in the Chateau de Wendigen and an Officers’ 
Mess set up in the village inn. Night signal lamps were placed in 
the Chateau tower, Lieut. -Col. Meighen being able by means of these 
to communicate instantly with his outlying company FI.Q’s. The 
Battalion, though somewhat scattered, was thus ready for any 
emergency. 

Five days were spent at Fletre, the men accustoming themselves 
to life in billets and preparing for a move towards the front. On 
the 20th of the month Field Marshal Sir John French, Commander- 
in-Chief of the British Army in France, reviewed the 3rd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade in a field near Caestre and expressed satisfaction 
with the men’s appearance and bearing. In a friendly speech he 



28 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



remarked that, if the Brigade could fight as well as it looked, he had 
some sympathy for the Germans who encountered it. At the Bat- 
talion’s first church parade in France, held on the following day, 
Canon Scott officiated, his remarks being punctuated by the low 
throb of distant guns. 

Two days after this service the 3rd Brigade paraded in Fletre 
at 8 a.m. and marched by way of Meteren and Nieppe, to Armen- 
tieres. On the march the Brigade passed Lieut. -Gen. Sir William 
Pulteney, commanding the 3rd British Army Corps, who scrutinized 
the Battalions with care and asked numerous questions. The men 
were unaware of the fact, but General Pulteney’s interest was far 
from being academic, or impersonal. The Canadians were to be 
trained in trench warfare by units under his command and, although 
the reports of his brigadiers and front line battalion commanders 
would doubtless settle whether the new troops were ready to hold a 
line of their own, or not, much could be inferred by watching them 
during a long march over the hard, pave roads. The 14th Battalion 
Diary records that, although the pave troubled the men. there were 
no stragglers. 

On arrival in Armentieres, the 14th Battalion was attached for 
instruction to the 17th Brigade of British Infantry, commanded by 
Brig.-Gen. Harper. Battalion Headquarters, with Nos. 1 and 2 
Companies, billeted in Armentieres Asylum; Nos. 3 and 4 Companies 
occupied a large warehouse in the town; and the Transport and 
Quartermaster billeted in another building some distance away. 

On the following day, February 24th, exactly six months after 
the Battalion had left Montreal, arrangements were made for several 
platoons to undergo a short period of instruction in the front line. 
One diarist mentions “ great rivalry and wire-pulling to be allowed 
to go with the first lot into the trenches ”, officers and men being 
keen for the honour of accompanying those detachments of the Regi- 
ment to come first under fire. Battalion Headquarters, as was fit 
and proper, moved up first and joined the 1st Battalion, The Prince 
of Wales’s (North Staffordshire) Regiment, commanded by Lieut.- 
Col. do Falbe, in trenches opposite Perenchies. Two platoons each 
from Nos. 1 and 2 Companies followed H.Q. and were attached for 
instruction to the same unit. Simultaneously, two platoons each from 
Nos. 3 and 4 Companies moved into the line at Chapelle d’Armen- 
tieres to receive instruction from officers and men of the Rifle Brigade. 

Remaining in the line for 24 hours, the platoons of the 14th Bat- 
talion were relieved on the night of the 25th without misadventure, 



1915 



SALISBURY TO FRANCE 



29 



other platoons of the Battalion taking their places. That night, at 
Chapelle d’Armentieres, volunteers were called for a patrol in No 
Man’s Land. Four men of No. 4 French-Canadian Company imme- 
diately offered themselves and were afterwards complimented by the 
company commander of the Rifle Brigade for the coolness and daring 
with which they carried out their work. 

On the following night the platoons of the Battalion in the front 
line were again relieved by platoons of their comrades, these being 
replaced by still further platoons on the night of February 27th. On 
this date the Battalion suffered its first casualty, Pte. R. C. Eaton, 
of No. 1 Coy., being wounded. On the night of February 28th the 
front line platoons of the 14th were relieved and not replaced, as 
preparations were under way for the Canadian Division to take over 
an independent section of the line. During the tours in the trenches 
platoons of the Royal Montreal Regiment had, at one time or other, 
received instruction from various British units. In a semi-official 
document, compiled at the request of the Commanding Officer in 
July, 1917, Major Arthur Plow, then Adjutant of the Battalion, 
records the unit’s appreciation of the warm welcome extended by 
these veterans. The willingness and painstaking care they displayed 
in imparting trench information furnished unmistakable evidence of 
good feeling and cemented those bonds of friendship which have 
since marked relations between Imperial troops and the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment. 



Ill 

Previous to relief of the last platoons of the 14th Battalion in 
the line, Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen, Commanding Officer, Lieut. -Col. 
W. W. Burland, Second-in-Command, and Capt. A. P. Holt, Adju- 
tant, accompanied Brig. -Gen. R. E. W. Turner, V.C., G.O.C. the 3rd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade, on a reconnaissance of trenches near 
Fleurbaix which the battalions of the 3rd Brigade were to take over 
from the British. Leaving Armentieres at 4 p.m. on March 2nd, the 
14th Battalion billeted at Bac St. Maur, where on the following 
morning the British Corps Commander warned the senior Canadian 
officers regarding what lay before them. “ Gentlemen ”, he said, 
“ you are about to face a cunning, cruel, and unscrupulous enemy. 
If you make a mistake you will not get a chance to make a second 
one.” Later in the day Lieut.-Gen. E. A. H. Alderson, Commanding 
the Canadian Division, addressed the 14th Battalion, which was to 



30 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



take over a section of the line that night. In brief, he ordered the 
unit to hold its trenches come what might and regardless of cost. 

Moving forward from Bac St. Maur after dusk, the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment took over a section of the front line near the Rue 
Petition (Fleurbaix Sector), opposite Fromelles, from a squadron of 
the Northumberland Hussars (Yeomanry) and from the 1st Bat- 
talion, Grenadier Guards, commanded by Lieut. -Col. Fisher-Rowe. 
The Guards, being veteran soldiers, had made themselves as comfort- 
able as circumstances permitted, among their assets being three cows. 
These they presented with their compliments to Lieut.-Col. Meighen 
and the officers of 14th Battalion II. Q. 

On relief of the Guards, Nos. 1, 2, and 3 Companies of the 14th 
occupied the front line, No. 4 Coy. taking up a position in support 
dugouts opposite Battalion II. Q., about 250 yards to the rear. Shell- 
ing each noon was a feature of this trench tour, and snipers, both 
by day and night, interrupted the construction and repair work on 
which the men of the 14th were employed, Pte. J. P. Rattigan being 
killed while at work on the roof of his dugout, and a man of a ration 
party from No. 4 Coy. being killed at a corner of the Sailly-Fromelles 
Road. These first dead of the Regiment were buried in a small 
military cemetery at Rue Petillon. 

Relieved on the night of March 6th by the 15th Battalion (48th 
Highlanders), the Royal Montreal Regiment moved back to Brigade 
Reserve billets in Rue du Quesne, moving forward again on the night 

of March 9th and taking over the Rue Petillon trenches from the 

15th. On this occasion Nos. 1, 2, and 4 Companies occupied the 

front line, No. 4 on the right, No. 2 on the left, and No. 1 in the 

centre. No. 3 Coy. remained in support. 

On taking over the front line, the men of the Royal Montreal 
Regiment prepared to advance against the German line opposite. 
They were ordered to attack on the morning of March 10th if the 
Battle of Neuve Chapelle involved the British brigade on their imme- 
diate right. With the 16th Battalion on the left they would thus 
have taken part in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle had the attack 
proved successful. Unfortunately, it resulted in partial failure, and 
on (he extreme left, where the British forces joined up with the 14th, 
no advance was called for, participation of the Royal Montrealers 
being confined to a demonstration in support. 

Describing the work of the Regiment on this eventful morning, 
a private of the Battalion writes as follows: “ Early on the morning 
of March 10, those of us who were fortunate enough to be asleep 




Royal Montreal Regiment Front Line Trenches, 
Fleurbaix, March, 1915 




1915 



SALISBURY TO FRANCE 



31 



were awakened by furious cannonading on our right. The British 
had let loose the whole force of their artillery on the German trenches. 
So many guns were massed along the line that it was impossible to 
hear individual reports. The sound came to us as a steady rumble 
of terrific volume and intensity. A little later the batteries of the 
3rd Canadian Artillery Brigade, immediately in our rear, joined in. 

. . . The din was terrific — ordinary conversation was impossible, 
and orders had to be fairly shouted. While our men were specu- 
lating about the battle, down the line came the order ‘Stand to!’ 
Immediately the men dropped whatever they were doing and sprang 
to their allotted posts along the parapet, ‘Open rapid fire!’ came 
the next order, and the men stepped up to their firing positions, threw 
back the safety catches, and let drive. . . . Each man was firing 
twenty-five rounds a minute, so it was not long before extra bando- 
liers had to be served out. No. 3 Coy. was acting as reserve and all 
night long they had toiled, carrying up 100-pound boxes of ammuni- 
tion to the trenches. It had been thought that 200,000 rounds would 
be ample for the Battalion, but apparently the rapid firing ability 
of some of the men had been under-estimated.” 

Continuing his letter, the writer mentions that, before very long 
a “ Prepare to Advance! ” order was received, whereupon the men 
“ with fixed bayonets, stood to in light fighting order. Knapsacks 
were placed in the rear of trenches as superfluous weight, but of 
necessity each man carried 250 rounds of ammunition, full water 
bottle, and emergency iron ration. For more than an hour they 
remained on the alert, waiting for the command that would send 
them out across 300 yards of sloppy ground against the enemy 
trenches. But the gods of war did not favour them. The British 
division on the left remained passive, the roar of the big guns died 
down, and soon the men were resting quietly in the trenches.” Cas- 
ualties in the 14th Battalion during the engagement included Sergt. 
Thomas Moore, of No. 2 Coy., who had won the Distinguished Con- 
duct Medal in China. Privates Hunt, Molt, and Coombes, of No. 2 
Coy., were also killed, and several others badly wounded. 

On the night of March 13th the 48th Highlanders (15th Battalion) 
relieved the Royal Montrealers, who moved back to billets in the 
Rue du Quesne. No parades, except rifle inspections, were held on 
March 14th, 15th, and 16th, the men being given a thorough rest, 
varied only by a few games of football on the afternoon of the 16th. 
At night on the 17th the Battalion moved up once more and took 
over the now familiar Petillon trenches from the 15th Battalion. 



32 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



Previous to the move forward, Canon Scott held a Communion Ser- 
vice at a wayside shrine on the Rue du Bois, the communicants 
kneeling on the road at the feet of the silent figure on the Cross. 
This shrine, still standing at the end of the War, was the one which 
inspired Canon Scott’s well known verses, beginning:—' 0 pallid 
Christ within this broken shrine 

The three-day tour that followed was marked by appreciable 
activity, the enemy sniping persistently and shelling at intervals. One 
man was killed by a sniper on March 18th and three more by rifle fire 
on the 20th. In addition, nine men were wounded. Apart from rifle 
fire and shelling, the chief event of the tour was the appearance over- 
head of a German aeroplane. Enemy planes were destined to become 
familiar objects in the days that lay ahead, but this was the first the 
Royal Montrealers had seen. Unfortunately, it flew too high for 
rifle fire to be effective. 

Following the tour in the line, the Battalion withdrew for three 
days to billets in the Rue du Quesne, then advanced once more to 
relieve the 15th Battalion in the front line, taking over the Rue 
Petillon trenches on the night of March 24th. The following day 
was quiet, but on the 26th the enemy showed marked activity, sev- 
eral men of the 14th being killed and approximately a dozen wounded. 
Previous to this activity, a patrol of the Royal Montreal Regiment 
in No Man's Land had been fired on by the enemy, Pte. A. S. Jones 
falling and one other man being wounded. On receiving a report 
from survivors of the patrol, a party of three men, under Sergt. Lang, 
went out to help Jones if he were still alive. They searched till dawn, 
but no trace of the fallen man could be found. Accordingly, on the 
Battalion records there was placed the entry: — “ Private A. S. Jones — 
Wounded and Missing ”. 

During this same tour Stretcher Bearer Drake went out into the 
open to help a wounded man. Drake was himself wounded soon 
after leaving the protection of his trench, but in spite of his injury 
he pluckily bound up his comrade’s wounds and remained with him, 
under fire, until further help was secured. For his courage on this 
occasion Stretcher Bearer Drake was awarded the first Distinguished 
Conduct Medal granted to a man of the Canadian Division. On the 
night of March 26th the 3rd Canadian Brigade was relieved by the 
24th British Brigade, the 14th Battalion handing over to the 1st 
Battalion of the Worcester Regiment, commanded by Major Grogan. 
The relief on both sides was well carried out, the G.O.C. 24th British 
Brigade complimenting the 14th for the smartness with which the 



1915 



SALISBURY TO FRANCE 



33 



trenches were handed over. The 1st Worcester Battalion had par- 
ticipated in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and had lost a great deal 
of equipment. The 14th, therefore, turned over a number of Very 
pistols and trench periscopes and a quantity of supplies. Authority to 
do this should, of course, have been sought from Brigade Headquar- 
ters, but, remembering the courtesy of the Imperial troops who had 
taught them the principles of trench warfare, officers and men of the 
14th were glad of an opportunity to help the Britishers out of an 
awkward hole. Brigade asked questions, of course, and grumbled as 
a matter of form. No one, however, least of all Brigade, took the 
grumbling seriously. 

When the Worcesters had taken over the Rue Petillon front, the 
Royal Montreal Regiment marched back to rest billets in Estaires. 
Here the Regiment spent eleven days, the time, after the men had 
visited the Divisional Baths and received clean underclothing, being 
devoted to training, with special attention paid to practice in bomb- 
ing, entrenching, wiring, and attacking against wire. To provide 
diversion, a small stream, the Courant de Meteren-Becque, was 
dammed and the resulting swimming pool allotted to the companies 
at specified hours. 

On April 2nd Lieut. -Col. Meighen and Lieut. -Col. Burland accom- 
panied Brig.-Gen. Turner to Fauquissart to view a section of the 
German line where an attack was contemplated. The plan for this 
attack was eventually abandoned and on April 6th the units of the 
3rd Brigade received orders for a move to Cassel. Marching from 
Estaires at 6 a.m. on April 7th, the Brigade proceeded through Neuf 
Berquin, Strazeele, and Caestre, and reached Cassel at approxi- 
mately 3 p.m. 

At Cassel, or rather in billets in the eastern outskirts of the town, 
the 14th Battalion remained for a week. Early in the stay a draft 
of 25 reinforcements was taken on strength from England, and a day 
or two later Lieut. G. W. Stairs reported for duty. An event which 
the Battalion witnessed in Cassel was the review of a French division 
by General Foch. The march past on this occasion was splendid, 
as the division was composed of veterans whose physique and bear- 
ing were of the finest. On April 10th the 3rd Canadian Infantry 
Brigade was inspected by Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, G.O.C. the 
2nd British Army, under whose command the Canadian Division had 
now passed. Sir Horace complimented the Brigade on the work 
accomplished at Fleurbaix and intimated that even sterner work lay 
ahead in that section of the line which the Canadians were about to 



34 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



take over. On the night of April 12th the Battalion Commanders of 
the 3rd Brigade, together with a group of company officers, joined 
Brig.-Gen. Turner on a reconnaissance of the new front. On their 
return it became known that the Brigade would move up to Ypres 
and take over from the French a section of front in the neighbour- 
hood of Langemarck and St. Julien. 




* 5 
"5 
*«} 



^ s 
S' . « 






Back Row: Capt. It. W Frost. Ft YY K Knublky, Ft. C. F. C. Portkoi \s. It \\ I) Adams, C \ i*t . \\d Or artkr.m \stkr II H. Smith Third Row: I,t. (i. M. Williamson, 
Capt. Y. G. Ccrrie, Major F. (1. Scott {Anuluan Chaplain) . It. It. <!<■ \ Terroin (’apt. Gui.t McComuk. Major A. ( ’. Shaw. Major II Barrk, Capt It. \Y. Steacie, 
Capt. A. Syi.vf.strk. {Roman Catholic Chaplain), C\pt 10 Ranger second Row (’apt II \ 'Thompson. (’\ih I B. I) Parki n, I t. F A Whitehead, I t. Coi. F. S. 
Meighen, I.t -Col \Y \V. Bcrlvnd. Major P It IIan.son, Capt. .1 N YYarminton. Ft. \\ (’ Brotherhood. Iront Row: Capt. \nd Adj. Andrew Holt. Ft. S. Grant, 
Ft. H. Quintal, Pi i I Des Hosiers i i l : de Serres Pi J. F. Adams, I.t. V\ H. Draper, Pi II. Roy, Pi K P. McCt ig, Capi II a Boyd 



CHAPTER IV 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



That day of battle in the dusty heat 

We lay and heard the bullets swish and sins; 

Like scythes amid the over-ripened wheat, 

And we the harvest of their gamering. 

— John McCrae. 



I 

I N mid-April, 1915, the Canadian Division completed a short 
period of rest and moved forward into the \pres Salient, taking 
over 4,250 yards of line, extending in a north-westerly direction 
from the Ypres-Roulers railway to a point just beyond the Ypres- 
Poelcappelle Road. Here the Canadian line connected with French 
troops, the point of contact and the line to the left being held by 
coloured soldiers (Turcos) of a French Algerian Division. 1 lie 3rd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade took over the left of the new line, adjoin- 
ing the French; the 2nd Brigade moved into the right section, con- 
necting up with British troops; and the 1st Brigade remained in 
Divisional Reserve. 

The 14th Battalion began to move towards the new positions on 
April 15th, when, at 1.30 p.m., the unit marched from Cassel to 
Steenvoorde. On the following day the men experienced a thrill 
when motor busses carried them over the Belgian border and on 
towards Ypres. Even at this early date Ypres had acquired a sinister 
reputation, as a host of gallant soldiers had fallen there in the fierce 
fighting of the previous autumn. Now another host was marching 
into the Salient — a Canadian host, which asked only that, in any 
hour of trial, it might worthily uphold the proud traditions which 
the dead had established. 

After halting at Poperinghe for lunch, the 14th Battalion marched 
through Ylamertinghe, around Ypres, and through St. Jean to a point 
north of Wieltje. At dusk French guides led the Battalion forward 
once more, Nos. 1, 2, and 4 Companies taking over the front line, and 
No. 3 Coy. moving into immediate support, about 300 yards to the 
left rear. As Major Barre and his officers spoke both English and 
French, No. 4 Coy. was placed on the flank, adjoining the French 
colonial troops. On the right flank no difficulty in regard to liaison 



36 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



existed, as the line there had been taken over from the French by 
the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish. 

That the men of the 14th Battalion experienced a shock when day- 
light revealed the condition of their new trenches is stated in many 
diaries and letters covering the time. A parapet of sand bags stretched 
along the Battalion front, but this was flimsily constructed, was not 
bullet proof, and was broken by one gap approximately 100 yards 
wide. Some value attached to the parapet as a screen from view, 
but danger signs gave warning that the Germans sniped through the 
protection repeatedly. Xo parados had been built on the trench; few 
traverses existed, and no shell proof dugouts at all. Water, and 
bodies buried but a few inches beneath the surface, had rendered the 
construction of underground shelters impossible. Many bodies had 
been buried in the parapet of the trenches; scores lay unburied 
between the lines; large rats wandered everywhere; and sanitary 
arrangements were, from a Canadian point of view, inadequate. Con- 
sequently, the line was dangerous and possessed of the most sickening 
smell imaginable. 

On taking over from the French, the men of the 14th Battalion 
were immediately put to work on repairs. This work continued while 
the Battalion occupied the line, being interrupted at intervals by 
successful sniping and less frequently by shell fire. O 11 April 17th 
enemy planes were active overhead, and on the same date Xo. 4 
Coy. reported that Germans were at work in a ruined house in Xo 
Man’s Land. This news was sent to Brigade H.Q., who induced the 
artillery to give the house a few bursts of fire. At another point on 
the front, where the enemy trenches were within easy range, a group 
of enterprising individuals bombarded with tins of bully beef. Cas- 
ualties may have resulted; certainly bad language suggested to the 
delighted Canadians that some important Hun had suffered humili- 
ating injury. 

On the night of April 17th, Xo. 4 Coy. extended beyond the 
Yprcs-Poelcappelle Road and took over approximately 50 yards addi- 
tional of front. On the following day the trenches were shelled to 
some extent, but the front line was peaceful compared to the spot 
where the Battalion Quartermaster had established his stores in 
Ypres. Here heavy shelling occurred in the morning and at intervals 
throughout the day. On April 20th this shelling was renewed with 
increased intensity, four men of the 14th Battalion being injured in 
addition to Cnpt. H. H. Smith, the Quartermaster, who was removed 
to hospital after being struck on the head by falling masonry. 




o\ its W av to Posh ions in rm; Saliknt 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



37 



Referring to the shelling of Ypres on April 20th, a Signaller of 
the 14th writes in his diary as follows: — “ I went into the town during 
the bombardment to see what it looked like. Nearly all the buildings 
in the market place had already been destroyed and the cafe where 
I had breakfast this morning was spread all over the square. In a 
corner of the square a group of civilians anti soldiers were loading 
wounded into ambulances. Close by another group were working 
feverishly with pick and shovel recovering bodies buried in the debris 
of ruined buildings. Here and there dead horses lay across the side- 
walks and in the roadway. The few women I saw were all hysterical 
and running about like mad things. Later, in the evening, I went up 
again. An unnatural calm hung about the town. The civilians 
seemed awed and terrified, walking close to the walls, and crouching 
down every time a shell screeched overhead. It is difficult to describe 
that awful calm. The people seemed afraid to speak and every step 
they took they would put their feet down as if afraid to make the 
slightest noise. I hope I shall never see such a sight again ”. 

Meantime the companies of the Battalion in the front line had 
improved their trenches, and the men of No. 3 Coy. had toiled to 
construct a reserve line. Progress had been made on both these 
tasks when the Royal Montreal Regiment, which had suffered casual- 
ties amounting to 7 killed and 15 wounded, was relieved by the 13th 
Battalion. On completion of the relief, which occurred on the night 
of April 21st, Nos. 1, 3, and 4 Companies moved back to billets in 
St. Jean, No. 2 Coy. halting in St. Julien as a local reserve. 

II 

At about 3 o’clock on the afternoon of Thursday, April 22nd, 1915, 
the Germans opened a tremendous bombardment of Ypres, the roads 
leading from that city to the front line, and the trenches forming the 
rim of the Ypres Salient. Guns of all calibres joined in this drum- 
fire, wrecking and devastating the lines of communication and tear- 
ing great gaps in the Ypres defences. Obviously such a bombardment 
heralded an attack on a major scale and the Allied forces stiffened 
to meet the blow. Little reply could be made to the German fire, 
however, owing to a pronounced shortage of guns and ammunition. 
In all France at this time the British Army controlled but 700 field 
guns and some 71 guns larger than 5-inch. The task of hurling back 
the German attack, therefore, fell to an overwhelming degree on the 
ever-willing and devoted infantry. 



38 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



After two hours of intense shell fire, the Germans launched chlo- 
rine gas. Gas had been used on the Russian front in the previous 
January, but unsuccessfully, owing probably to extreme cold. This 
time, with the temperature ideal and with a favourable wind, the 
poison clouds rolled across the open fields and fell with disastrous 
effect on the trenches of the Turcos to the Canadians’ left. Blinded, 
choking, and terror-stricken, the French coloured troops gave ground, 
while through the gaps torn in their front and subsidiary lines poured 
the grey-clad German infantry, destined, so their commanders hoped, 
to sweep victoriously through Ypres and on to Calais. The surprise 
was complete; all that remained was to exploit victory to the utter- 
most. 

Up in the front line which the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders 
of Canada, had taken over from the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 
Regiment, on the previous night, Major D. R. McCuaig, who succeed- 
ed to command of the Highlanders’ forward companies on the death 
of Major E. C. Norsworthy, felt the great danger to which the French 
retreat had exposed him and faced a section of his command square 
left to protect his threatened flank. All night on the 22nd, all day 
on the 23rd, and again that night, the Royal Highlanders clung with 
bravery and devotion to their bit of front, beating off a number of 
attacks and establishing a tradition for tenacity and courage which 
will for all time add lustre to the bright pages of Canadian military 
history. On the night of April 23rd, sadly depleted in numbers, they 
withdrew according to orders and formed a new line with other units 
of the Canadian Division, who, with a determination rivalling their 
own, had pushed forward to reinforce them. 

When the attack opened on the afternoon of April 22nd, the 14th 
Battalion, as previously mentioned, lay in billets in St. Jean and St. 
Julien. No. 2 Coy., in St, Julien, formed part of a special reserve and 
came under the orders of Lieut. -Col. F. O. W. Loomis, Town Comman- 
dant of St, Julien, and Commanding Officer of the 13th Battalion. As 
soon as it became certain that the Germans had penetrated the French 
lines to the Canadian left, Lieut.-Col. Loomis ordered Major Hanson 
to take up a defensive position north of St, Julien and between the 
Steenbeek and the St. Julicn-Iveerselaere Road. Heavy fire was encoun- 
tered during the move forward and after the position was occupied, 
Major Hanson, the Company Commander, and Lieut. W. K. Knubley 
suffering severe wounds and Capt Steaeic, second-in-command, being 
killed. Command of the company thereupon devolved on Capt. W. 
C. Brotherhood, who dug in and linked up with Capt. R. Y. Cory, 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



39 



who commanded a half company of the 15th Battalion on the right. 
Later Cory sent to Brotherhood’s support a party of approximately 
200 French coloured troops, under a gallant subaltern, who were 
requested to dig themselves in on Brotherhood’s left. The French 
troops were willing, but were discovered by a French senior officer, 
who sharply ordered them to the rear. This senior officer appeared 
dazed and was obviously lost, none the less the subaltern in com- 
mand of the Turcos dared not disobey his explicit orders and the 
French troops accordingly withdrew. 

As the position of No. 2 Coy. was vital to the safety of the troops 
on the forward flank, Lieut. -Col. Loomis gave orders that it must be 
held at all costs. In obedience to these orders, the men of the com- 
pany prepared to hold on, come what might. Shell fire poured on 
the position throughout the night, halting occasionally to permit 
sharp attacks by battle patrols of the enemy. On April 23rd Lieut. 
G. W. Stairs, who had behaved most gallantly, was killed, together 
with many of the rank and file. All that day and all that night 
Capt. Brotherhood commanded the remnant of the company, encour- 
aging the men by force of personal example to bear with courage 
the shelling and machine gun fire which harassed them sorely, the 
more so as, owing to shortage of ammunition, supporting fire was 
conspicuous chiefly by its absence. 

At dawn on April 24th Capt. Cory, commanding the detachment 
of the 15th Battalion to the right, visited No. 2 Coy’s, trenches and 
spoke to Capt. G. M. Williamson, of the 14th Battalion Machine Gun 
Section, who had a gun crew, composed of Sergt. Duffield, Pte. W. B. 
Lothian, Pte. R. Fletcher, Pte. R. Stewart, and Pte. R. Bremner, in 
position immediately to the left of the Poelcappelle Road. Returning 
later in the morning for further consultations, Capt. Cory was 
informed that all officers of No. 2 Coy. had fallen. He spoke to an 
N.C.O., who showed a cool grasp of the situation, and picked out a 
wounded man, Private Russell, whom he ordered to carry a written 
situation report to the rear. 

Meanwhile, at approximately 11.30 a.m., Capt. Brotherhood noti- 
fied Lieut. -Col. Loomis that some of his men had been shelled out 
of their trench and that enemy forces w r ere advancing on his left and 
front. To this message he added that, should the enemy force him 
to retire to the right, he would contest every traverse of his trench. 
Somewhat later Capt. Brotherhood laid down his life in carrying out 
his promise. 'Wter his death, all officers having become casualties, 



40 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



command fell to Sergt. A. E. Hawkins, this N.C.O. leading back the 
remnant of the company when the order to retire was finally received. 

Some conception of the work accomplished by No. 2 Coy. from 
April 22-24 is conveyed in a letter written by Major-Gen. Sir (then 
Lieut. -Col.) F. 0. W. Loomis, who says: — “ Capt. Brotherhood’s 
action in defending this position to the death cannot be enhanced by 
anything I might say. It appears to me that a plain chronicle of the 
facts records as valorous a deed as men can achieve. The determined 
defence by Capt. Brotherhood and the officers and men of the 14th 
who were with him in front of St. Julien at that critical time was of 
vital importance to the tactical situation and of great comfort and 
assistance to me. I wish to record my full appreciation of their 
faithfulness and valour and do all honour to their glorious memory ”. 

Shortly after No. 2 Coy. of the 14th Battalion advanced on the 
afternoon of April 22nd, Nos. 1, 3, and 4 Companies were ordered to 
“ stand to ”, and soon afterwards to move forward. No. 1 Coy. at 
this time was commanded by Major A. C. Shaw, with Major J. N. 
Warminton as second-in-command and Lieuts. R. de V. Terroux and 
C. F. C. Porteous as junior officers; No. 3 Coy. was under the com- 
mand of Major Gault McCombe, Capt. V. G. Curry, Lieut. W. D. 
Adams, Lieut. S. Grant and Lieut. E. A. Whitehead; and No. 4 Coy. 
was commanded by Major H. Barre, who had to assist him Capt. E. 
Ranger and Lieuts. H. DesRosiers, R. DeSerres, R. Roy, and H. 
Quintal. Before the advance of No. 4 Coy. began on the afternoon 
of the 22nd Major Barre was wounded, command of the company 
devolving on Capt. Ranger. 

Even before the advance of Nos. 1. 3, and 4 Companies began, 
the men were aware that some disaster had overtaken the front line. 
Past their billets streamed a confused throng of soldiers and civilians, 
and to the left bodies of French troops, some in perfect order and 
others in the grip of panic, moved hurriedly to the rear. During the 
march up t he St. Jean-St. Julien Road, evidence of disaster increased. 
“A steady tide of humanity — the most mixed and miserable lot of 
people I have ever seen ”, writes an N.C.O. , “ moved by us in the 
direction of Ypres, leaving us barely room to squeeze through in the 
direction of the enemy. Most pitiful were the civilian population — 
mostly women and children — all utterly demoralized and passing in 
seemingly endless procession. In the village of St. Jean I saw a youth 
of sixteen carrying his aged grandmother on his back; and a little 
further on a child of five standing alone in the doorway of a deserted 
home, crying pitifully. And, of course, there were the wounded — 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



41 



hundreds of them — and the main body of French colonial troops in 
retreat, some who had been gassed with yellow faces and gasping 
for breath 

Near the village of Wieltje, Lieut. -Col. Meighen, who had led 
the advance, took up a post at the side of the road and, with the 
assistance of his Adjutant, Capt. A. P. Holt, directed each company 
in turn to its position in what was known as “ The G.H.Q. Line 
This line stretched through Brigade H.Q. and roughly paralleled the 
old front. For the most part, it existed on maps and in imagination 
only. A few shallow 7 trenches and pits had been dug, but these pro- 
vided protection for individuals rather than for organized bodies of 
troops. Accordingly, Nos. 3 and 1 Companies were at once put to 
w r ork digging trenches to the left of Brigade H.Q., while No. 4 Coy. 
established a sector between Brigade H.Q. and the Ypres-Poelcappelle 
Road. No. 1 Coy’s, left was completely “ in the air ”, the imaginary 
“ line ” stretching quite ungarrisoned as far as the Yser Canal. 

Soon after taking up position in the G.H.Q. Line, No. 3 Coy. sent 
out two patrols, who discovered the enemy in strength some four or 
five hundred yards away. The first of these patrols, from No. 9 
Platoon, consisted of Privates Boyd Symonds, C. D. B. Whitby, and 
B. R. Racey; the second, from No. 10 Platoon, was led by Corp. 
William Kirby, accompanied by Lance-Corp. Clifford and Private C. 
A. Harley. All of No. 10 Platoon’s party w 7 ere captured, as was 
Private Racey, who escaped from a German prison camp in July, 
1916. Privates Symonds and Whitby eluded the enemy and returned 
with information as to the Germans’ whereabouts. Shortly after- 
wards a riderless horse crashed into the Battalion lines and for a 
moment the men of the 14th thought that the enemy w 7 as upon them. 
Strict discipline prevailed, however, and the alarm did not cause the 
firing of a shot. 

Meanwhile No. 1 Coy. on the left had sighted a body of troops 
moving in the open. Darkness prevented identification and Coy. 
Sergt. -Major C. B. Price with Private C. S. LeMesurier went out to 
discover whether the troops were English, French, or German. 
Approaching with caution, Price and LeMesurier established that the 
men were Germans, a fact which allowed No. 1 Coy. to open fire. 
Shortly afterwards LeMesurier went forward once more and chal- 
lenged two individuals, who fired and wounded him. Price, who had 
followed LeMesurier, came up at this time and shot both the attack- 
ers. The two Canadians then made their way back to the G.H.Q. 



42 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



Line. For the coolness and courage displayed on this occasion Coy. 
Sergt.-Major Price was awarded the D.C.M. 

At about 11 o’clock that night, the 10th and 16th Canadian Bat- 
talions inarched up the Ypres-Poelcappelle Road and, extending to 
the left, prepared to attack a wood held by the enemy. With these bat- 
talions was a bombing force, composed of some 128 men drawn equally 
from each of the 3rd Brigade battalions. Led by the bombers, the 
10th and 16th Battalions, commanded respectively by Lieut.-Cols. 
R. L. Boyle and R. G. E. Leckie, drove their way through the wood, 
suffering heavily, but achieving their purpose of relieving the pressure 
on St. Julien, the fall of which would have uncovered the entire rear 
of the gallant battalions in the original front line. 

Early on the morning of April 23rd a company of the Buffs 
arrived to occupy a position on No. 1 Coy’s, flank. To reach this 
position it was necessary to cross a hedge gap which exposed each 
man to enemy fire. The first few men attempting to cross were shot 
down, No. 1 Coy. thereupon opening a covering fire in the general 
direction of the unseen enemy. At this juncture an officer of the Buffs 
took up a post in full view of the enemy and coolly directed his men 
to safety. He thanked the Canadians for their covering fire, but 
suggested that the ammunition had better be preserved. The daring 
of this officer and his splendid leadership aroused the Canadians’ 
admiration, regret being felt when, just as his immediate task was 
completed, he fell, shot by a German sniper. 

That same morning Nos. 3 and 4 Companies of the 14th were 
ordered to advance as far as possible, and dig in. At 8 o’clock the 
companies started forward, but immediately machine gun fire was 
opened from farm buildings on a ridge to the left and, after an 
advance of some hundreds of yards, the movement was definitely 
checked. During the advance Lieut. H. Quintal, of No. 4 Coy., was 
severely wounded. Casualties from machine gun and shrapnel fire 
continued and soon became so severe that a withdrawal was necessary. 

At dusk that night Major McCombe led No. 3 Coy. forward to 
St. Julien and reported to Lieut.-Col. F. 0. W. Loomis, Town Com- 
mandant, In St. Julien Major McCombe halted for about two hours, 
then Lieut.-Col. Loomis ordered him to move his company forward 
and report to Major V. C. Buchanan, Second-in-Command of the 
13th Battalion, who, at the moment, was commanding the 13th Bat- 
talion’s front line. Major McCombe’s company carried forward in 
the subsequent advance food and water for the 13th, who had been 
on short rations for two days. The Royal Highlanders at this time 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



43 



were pivoting on the left of the 15th Battalion, and throwing back 
their left flank to join with other units in forming a line across the 
gap which the gas attack had torn open. When Major McCombe 
reported to Major Buchanan the pivoting movement had been com- 
pleted and the Highlanders were establishing their new line. A posi- 
tion in this was allotted to the Royal Montrealers, who, realizing that 
dawn was not far off, dug in as rapidly as possible. 

Shortly after the advance of No. 3 Coy. on the evening of April 
23rd, Lieut.-Col. Burland led No. 4 Coy. to a point near the St. 
Julien-Iveerselaere Road, where contact was established with the 
remnants of No. 2 Coy. and with detachments of the 7th Canadian 
Battalion. Meantime other Canadian and Imperial units were mov- 
ing up and entrenching further to the left, with the result that by 
dawn on April 24th a line — weak, and with gaps, it is true — stretched 
from the refused left of the 13th Battalion to a point on the west 
bank of the Yser Canal, or, in other words, across the great breach 
which the gas attack had opened. 

Seeing the chance of victory slipping and realizing that a deter- 
mined effort might still smash through the wearied Canadian lines, 
the Germans, at 3.30 a.m. on Saturday, April 24th, opened heavy fire 
with shrapnel and high explosive. Accurately directed, this fire 
wrecked the emergency trenches occupied by the Canadian bat- 
talions, inflicting heavy casualties, and preparing the way for an 
assault by the infantry. Amongst those in the 14th Battalion wound- 
ed at this time was Lieut. E. A. Whitehead, of No. 3 Coy., who 
received a bullet in the ankle. Although suffering severely, Lieut. 
Whitehead continued to command his* platoon until he fainted from 
pain, fatigue, and loss of blood. In a brave effort to remove this 
wounded officer to a place of safety, Sergt. Arundel was shot and 
instantly killed. After several hours, shell fire rendered the line quite 
untenable and a retirement w r as ordered to a point on the forward 
side of a small ridge between the Poelcappelle Road and the Rue des 
Bodies. Sullenly, the men obeyed the order to retreat, taking advan- 
tage of every ditch and fold in the ground to halt and open fire when 
the pursuing enemy failed to keep at a respectful distance. 

At approximately 11 a.m., the Royal Montrealers, or rather what 
was left of them, were shelled out of their new positions and again 
forced to retire, this time to a series of disused trenches some 300 
yards to the right rear. Following the retreat mercilessly and with 
unerring skill, the German artillery reached these trenches, which were 
also enfiladed by machine gun fire, and once more the Canadians were 



44 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



compelled to give ground. As previously, however, each foot of soil 
was yielded only after the enemy had paid a heavy price. 

After retiring for some 200 yards, the men of Nos. 2, 3, and 4 
Companies, together with their comrades of the 13th and other Bat- 
talions, occupied a line of ditches and natural folds in the ground. 
Here they remained till about 4.30 p.m., when they received orders to 
retire behind the G.H.Q. Line, their place being taken by Imperial 
troops who had pushed forward to take part in the great engagement. 
On relief, Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Companies moved into an open field east 
of St. Jean. 

While the events just described were taking place, No. 1 Coy. of 
the 14th was holding its section of the G.H.Q. Line. A strong force of 
the enemy penetrated the Canadian front near St. Julien on the after- 
noon of April 24th and worked down towards 3rd Brigade H.Q. This 
force appeared about 350 yards in front of the G.H.Q. Line at approxi- 
mately 3 p.m., and offered a target which the men of No. 1 Coy. at 
once accepted, rifle and machine gun fire inflicting such heavy casual- 
ties that the Germans retired hastily to their right rear. Shortly 
thereafter the enemy shelled a barn on the left flank and destroyed 
the company’s reserve of ammunition. 

For two days and two nights more No. 1 Cov., plus a platoon of 
No. 2 Coy., under Sergt. Dick Worrall, remained in the left section of 
the G.H.Q. trenches, exposed to constant rifle, machine gun, and shell 
fire, and suffering appreciably from a shortage of food and water. 
Ration parties worked to remedy this state of affairs, but, as they 
were forced to cross ground open to sniping in the daytime and swept 
by machine gun fire at night, their efforts were only partially suc- 
cessful. On one occasion Lance-Corp. H. Wright, under sharp fire, 
trundled a Belgian hand-cart full of food up the St. Jean-1\ ieltje 
Road almost to Brigade Headquarters. From this spot he dodged 
snipers and, reaching the G.H.Q. Line, told the men where food could 
be obtained. Volunteers, in extended order, then reached the cart 
and brought back rations for their comrades. 

Meanwhile, at a farmhouse not far from Wieltje, the remnants of 
Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Companies of the Battalion had been assembled and 
reformed. During the various stands and retirements on the morning 
and afternoon of April 24th, it had been impossible to preserve com- 
pany distinctions. In falling back, men dropped into the nearest 
trench and reported to the officer in charge. Tims, at one time, in a 
trench in front of St. Julien, men from the Canadian Engineers, 10th, 
13th, 14th, and 16th Battalions fought side by side, intent only on 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



45 



checking the enemy's advance, and for this purpose yielding unques- 
tioning obedience to any officer from one or other of the units who 
appeared on the scene. By dusk some 100 men of the 14th had gath- 
ered at the Wieltje farm and during the night this number was appre- 
ciably augmented. 

On the night of Sunday, April 25th, Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Companies 
of the Royal Montreal Regiment were withdrawn behind the Yser 
Canal and for a while the men thought that their experiences in the 
Second Battle of Ypres were over. Reserves were too short, however, 
and on the morning of the 26th the companies were ordered forward 
to near St. Jean to support an attack being delivered by the French. 
Counter-attacks took place at several points on the front this day 
and the companies of the 14th suffered from the inevitable back lash 
of shell and rifle fire. Amongst the casualties from this fire was Major 
Gault McCombe, who was struck in the leg by a bullet, but remained 
at duty for several days thereafter. Eventually the bullet was 
extracted from the leg by Capt. Scrimger, the Battalion M.O. 

On the night of April 26th No. 1 Coy. was relieved from the G.H.Q. 
Line and rejoined Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Companies, who were still near 
St. Jean. On the morning of April 27th, therefore, Lieut.-Col. Meighen 
once more commanded a four-company Battalion, under-strength as 
a result of casualties, and weary as a result of five days in the line, 
but a co-ordinated unit none the less, capable of marching, or fighting, 
as occasion should demand. During the day the reunited Battalion 
suffered approximately 15 casualties from shell fire. 

That night the Battalion moved back to the Regimental Transport 
Lines, near Brielen, where, on the following day, Lieuts. IV. M. Pearce, 
G. L. Stairs, E. Leprohon, and F. R. Houston reported for duty from 
England. After dusk the Battalion moved into a poorly constructed 
line of trenches on the west bank of the Yser Canal. 

All day on April 29th the Battalion lay in the Canal trenches. An 
occasional shell dropped nearby, but, on the whole, the day was 
quieter than any the men had experienced since the gas attack of the 
previous week. At dusk the 14th was ordered to the east side of the 
Yser Canal to establish a line facing the Pilkem-St. Julien Ridge, 
between trenches held by the 16th Battalion on the left and the King’s 
Own Scottish Borderers (13th British Brigade) on the right. On 
arrival, it was found that space existed for but one company of the 
14th and authority was accordingly sought from 3rd Brigade H.Q. to 
withdraw three companies of the Battalion to a position on the east 
bank of the Canal, where the men would not be under direct observa- 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



46 



tion from higher ground. Permission for this move having arrived, 
No. 1 Coy. dug the trench between the 16th Battalion and the 
K.O.S.B.’s, Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Companies withdrawing as arranged. 

April 30th was a warm day and the men of Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Com- 
panies enjoyed the novel experience of swimming in the Canal, under 
shell fire from enemy guns. At night, a rearrangement of disposi- 
tions having been effected, the companies moved forward to join No. 
1 Coy. in the trenches facing the Pilkem-St. Julien Ridge. Fairly 
heavy shelling and scattered rifle fire were encountered during the 
move, Lieut. -Col. W. W. Burland receiving a severe shrapnel bruise 
and Lieut. S. Grant a bullet through the arm. 

About 5 o’clock on the afternoon of May 2nd, a greenish cloud of 
poison gas, about 40 feet high, poured over the crest of the Pilkem- 
St. Julien Ridge and fell on the trenches of the Essex Regiment, which 
had replaced the King’s Own Scottish Borderers on the 14th Battalion 
right. Three batteries of French ’75’s, which were in support, imme- 
diately lined the crest of the Ridge with shrapnel. This fire was 
beautifully placed and completely crumpled a strong attack which 
the German infantry attempted to deliver. After the attack had 
failed, the Essex Regiment reoccupied a front line trench, which the 
cloud of gas had rendered untenable. On sighting the gas the men 
of the 14th Battalion fastened small gauze pads over their faces for 
protection. These pads, soaked in chemicals, had been issued on the 
previous day, but, fortunately perhaps, a shift in the wind prevented 
their efficacy from being tested. 

May 3rd was a quiet day, according to the official diary of the 
Battalion, although enemy aeroplanes were active. By this time the 
majority of the Royal Montrealers had cast aside their Ross rifles 
and equipped themselves with Lee-Enfields, a weapon better suited 
to meet the severe requirements of active service. Opening fire with 
these new riilcs, and encouraged by Lieut.-Col. Meighen, who himself 
joined in the sport, the men of the 14th winged one plane which, how- 
ever, managed to escape and land behind the enemy’s line. Late that 
night the Battalion was relieved from the trenches and marched back 
to the Transport Lines near Vlamcrtinghc, passing May 4th in this 
position and marching at dusk, together with the other battalions of 
the 3rd Brigade, through Vlamcrtinghe, Ouderdom, and Locre, to Bail- 
leul. At Bail leul the Brigade scattered, the men of the 14th, exhausted 
after the wearing experiences of the previous fortnight and the long 
night march, finding that another 3 kilometres were required of them. 
“ It was a pretty sorry looking bunch that crept into Bailleul ". writes 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



47 



one diarist. “ We were all footsore and weary, but we found that our 
billets were about two miles out of town. We managed to crawl that 
distance and reached our destination at dawn on the morning of 
May 5th. The march was the worst I ever experienced.” 

Ill 

Although the foregoing account covers in outline the work of the 
14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, in the Second Battle of 
Ypres, certain incidents remain to be recorded. At the outbreak of 
the battle Capt. F. A. C. Scrimger, the original Medical Officer of the 
Battalion, was in charge of an advanced dressing station at Wieltje, 
when French coloured troops poured back from the broken front line. 
A part of this stream halted at the dressing station where Scrimger 
was at work, and some of the poor Tureos, crawling on the floor, 
sought comfort by clinging to the M.O’s. coat. Never before had 
Scrimger seen such terrible “ mass fear ”. No attempt to pacify or 
reassure these individuals could be successful. Their morale was 
shattered, and weeks must elapse before it could be restored. 

On the following day, Capt. H. A. Boyd, Medical Officer of the 
14th Battalion, having been wounded, Capt. Scrimger was attached 
to his old unit and ordered to report for duty at 3rd Brigade Head- 
quarters. That afternoon the vicinity of Headquarters was shelled 
and Capt. Scrimger, together with other medical officers present, was 
ordered to the rear. This order the M.O. of the 14th could not see 
his way to obey. Instead he proceeded to the G.H.Q. trenches, occu- 
pied by Nos. 1, 3, and 4 Companies of his Regiment, and there, under 
fire, dressed the wounds of five men who had been badly injured. 
Next day Brig. -Gen. R. E. W. Turner and officers of the 3rd Brigade 
Staff were standing in rear of their Headquarters farmhouse, studying 
a large map, when an aeroplane circled twice overhead. This plane 
bore Allied markings, but must have been a German, for a few min- 
utes later Headquarters was blown to pieces. Shell after shell landed 
on the farmhouse and outbuildings, the ruins soon taking fire and 
blazing fiercely. Eventually the flames reached 350,000 rounds of 
small arm ammunition, the cartridges detonating individually, but in 
such rapid succession as to suggest a great roar of rifle fire. Some 
such impression must have been conveyed to a strong party of Ger- 
mans, who approached under cover of the shelling. A half dozen men 
alone stood between this party and the capture of Brigade H.Q., but, 
when the cartridges started to explode, the Germans halted and dug in. 



48 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1915 



Numerous wounded lay in the farm stable when the shelling began 
and these, with the assistance of a small band of devoted stretcher 
bearers, under Sergt. Bethell, Capt. Scrimger removed to safety. 
Among the wounded was a staff officer, Capt. McDonald, Supporting 
this officer, who was helpless, Scrimger made his way out of the burn- 
ing dressing station, only to run into shell fire. Refusing to abandon 
the wounded man, the Medical Officer lay with him at the side of a 
ditch, while some seventy-five 6-inch shells exploded around them. 
Five shells fell within fifteen feet of the lying men, who were dazed 
by the concussion and half smothered by the flying mud. Eventually, 
when the shelling subsided, Scrimger staggered with his wounded 
companion to safety. For his valour in effecting the rescue just 
described, and for his great devotion to duty throughout the period 
from April 22nd to April 25th, Capt. Scrimger was awarded the Vic- 
toria Cross. He was the first Canadian officer to win this most coveted 
of all distinctions in the Great War. 

No account of the work accomplished by the Royal Montreal 
Regiment during those spring days of fiery trial would be complete 
without mention of Capt. G. M. Williamson and the men of the Bat- 
talion Machine Gun Section. When the 14th Battalion was relieved 
by the 13th Battalion on the night of April 21st, Capt. Williamson 
turned over one of his guns to the Highlanders. The remaining guns 
were mounted eventually in ruined houses on the outskirts of St. 
Julien and at different points in the new front line. On one occasion 
when the Germans drove against St. Julien, the machine guns caught 
the enemy in the open and inflicted heavy casualties. Later, guns 
were brought into action in the front line at a time when the Germans 
were pressing the Canadians sorely. Bravely served against great 
odds, the guns fought to the last, Capt. Williamson and many of his 
men laying down their lives, hoping that the sacrifice they made would 
assist in holding Ypres and preventing the Germans from sweeping 
through to Calais and the Channel. In a battle where disaster was 
evaded by a hair’s breadth, who shall say that their sacrifice was 
made in vain? 

While the companies of the 14th Battalion were engaged in the 
fighting at Ypres, Canon F. G. Scott, or to give him his military title, 
Hon. Major F. G. Scott, one-time Protestant Chaplain of the Regi- 
ment, wandered everywhere in the forward zones, bringing courage, 
good cheer, and religious consolation to all who stood in need. “ The 
Canon ”, wrote one private of No. 3 Coy., “ is known and loved by 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



49 



every man in the Regiment. He is one of the best and bravest men I 
have ever known. All through the campaign so far he has been with 
us, indefatigable, indomitable, and quite irrepressible. On the night 
of April 22nd, the Canon, hearing that the 14th Battalion was to 
counter-attack, hurried up from behind Ypres, right through terrific 
shell fire, and joined the 16th Battalion, which was on the way from 
reserve trenches. The Canon did not know where the 14th was located, 
so lie stuck to the 16th, hoping to get in touch with his own Regiment. 
The reverend gentleman’s description of his experiences is most 
amusing: — ‘ AVe marched up the road and across a field ’, he explains, 
‘ and then there was considerable manoeuvring about. I didn’t know 
exactly what was in the wind until suddenly I found myself tearing 
across some fields in the moonlight with the boys of the 10th and 
16th Battalions, who had fixed bayonets. It occurred to me that this 
must be a charge, and there I was with only a light walking stick as 
a weapon. The only thing that saved the situation was that a couple 
of poor fellows were badly wounded close beside me and I was able 
to go to their assistance ’ ”. 

Characteristically, the Canon failed to mention the withering fire 
which greeted the attack of the 10th and 16th Battalions and through 
which he had passed, but made much of his fear that a rifle would go 
off while he was helping the wounded soldiers to cover. In a diary 
another private describes his feelings when, after a short period of 
rest, his company was again ordered into action. “ I was greatly dis- 
couraged at this time and had it not been for the kind and cheerful 
words of encouragement given to me by our loved padre, Canon Scott, 
I am sure I could not have faced the new ordeal ”. 

Tribute to the work of senior officers of the Battalion is similarly 
paid in many letters and diaries. Writing a few days after the Ypres 
battle, a private observes : — “ Col. Meighen, our Commanding Officer, 
was in constant touch with General Turner throughout the three-days’ 
battle for St. Julien. I had an opportunity of observing the two 
commanders at Brigade Headquarters and, though I have never seen 
a man cooler under fire than General Turner, I don’t think he had 
anything on our Colonel. Col. Meighen has been with us every 
minute since we got into action, sharing our fortunes and discom- 
forts, and preserving a calm, unruffled demeanour, which undoubtedly 
has had a steadying influence on the men. As for Lieut.-Col. Burland, 
our Second-in-Command, he was right in the thick of the fight for 
St. Julien. He was with No. 3 Coy. when we were blown out of the 
trenches on Saturday morning and it was due in a large measure to his 



50 



1915 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 

efforts that the remnants of the Battalion were quickly rallied and 
formed up for the rear-guard action after the first retirement 

As men of the Royal Montreal Regiment were scattered during 
the Ypres Battle, it is impossible to follow the fortunes of all indivi- 
duals who, through one cause or another, became attached to units 
other than their own. A few incidents, however, must be mentioned. 
Men of the 14th assisted Major W. B. M. King’s battery to escape on 
the night of April 22nd, after it had fired over open sights into advanc- 
ing bodies of the enemy less than 200 yards away. Lance-Corp. Fred. 
Fisher, of the 13th Canadian Battalion’s Machine Gun Section, direct- 
ed operations on this occasion and won a well-deserved V.C. The 
men of the 14th who assisted Major King moved forward under com- 
mand of Lieut. G. W. Stairs, together with a number of men from the 
15th Battalion, the whole party being despatched by Capt. Cory, of 
the 15th, who had visited Major King’s position and seen how ser- 
iously it was threatened. 

Some 30 men of No. 4 Coy. of the 14th, under Lieuts. Roy and 
DesRosiers, became attached to the 2nd Canadian Battalion, com- 
manded by Lieut.-Col. David Watson, and helped to cover the retire- 
ment of this fine unit on the afternoon of April 24th. A Signaller of 
the 14th, who was in Ypres on the evening of April 22nd, received 
instructions to retire to Poperinghe. Distrusting the source of these 
orders, he “ kept out of sight ” for a time, then joined a party of 
Canadian Engineers, who worked all night, preparing two bridges 
across the Canal for destruction. “ Three of us were still at it in the 
morning ”, this man writes, “ though there were eight when we started. 
The other five had all been hit and two of them were dead. I don’t 
know who my comrades of that night were. I never saw their faces 
clearly, not even in the early dawn of the following morning ”. 

Still other members of the Battalion acted as runners for Brigade 
Headquarters. One records in his diary that lie was sent to St. Jean 
with a message for ambulances. “ I located the ambulances and got 
them started on their way, following them on my bike. As I was 
nearing Wieltje a shell burst close 'to me, a piece cutting the rim of 
my front wheel in two and throwing me over the handle-bars. Leav- 
ing the wreck of the bicycle in the ditch, I finished my journey to 
Wieltje on foot ”. Another private, acting as a runner for 3rd Bri- 
gade, was waiting for a message which General Turner was writing 
when a shell burst a few feet overhead. “ Pretty close ", remarked 
the General, without lifting his head. “ Nerve of that sort ”, states 
the runner in his diary, “ helped me a great deal ”. 



1915 



THE GAS ATTACK AT YPRES 



51 



The stories of how the gallant 13th Battalion held the exposed left 
flank at Ypres; how the 10th and 16th charged against the wood at 
St. Julien; how the 15th Battalion suffered grievously from shelling 
and gas; and how the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades fought with 
superb valour and skill, are carved deep in the memories and hearts 
of the Canadian and British peoples. The 14th Battalion is proud to 
have shared with these and all other units of the Division in the dis- 
tinction accorded by Sir John French of having by “ a magnificent 
display of tenacity and courage — averted a disaster which might have 
been attended with the most serious consequences ”. The Canadian 
Division had, indeed, at a cost of 5,000 casualties, upheld those tradi- 
tions of sacrifice and valour which the “ Old Contemptibles ” had 
established at Ypres in the previous year. 



CHAPTER V 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY, AND THE 
SUMMER OF 1915. 

O England of our Fathers and England of our Sons 
Above the roar of battling hosts the thunder of the guns, 

A Mother’s voice was calling us, we heard it oversea, 

The blood which Thou did’st give us is the blood we spill for Thee. 

— Frederick George Scott. 

I 

W HEN the Canadian Division withdrew from the Ypres Salient 
early in May, 1915, it rested for some ten days and then 
moved south to take part in the Battle of Festubert. This 
engagement, which opened on May 15th, had as its immediate object 
the capture of Aubers Ridge, from which Lille and La Bassee could be 
dominated. Secondarily, the battle was fought to retain on the British 
front German forces which otherwise could have been used against the 
French Army attacking Vimy Ridge and Lens. By May 25th Sir John 
French realized that his plan had partly failed. Ammunition was run- 
ning short by this time and gains in territory had been purchased at a 
disproportionate price in casualties. Accordingly, the engagement 
was brought to a close. On the Vimy front fighting continued for six 
weeks, heavy French losses, with no appreciable advantage gained, 
threatening for a time to bring about the downfall of General Foch, 
to whom General Joffre had entrusted the whole operation. Canadian 
participation in the Festubert offensive began on May 15th when 
Lieut. -Gen. E. A. 11. Aldersonj the Divisional Commander, moved his 
Headquarters to the southern section of the British line. The Cana- 
dian infantry brigades followed and the 3rd Brigade came into action 
on the afternoon of May 18th, when the 14th and 16th Battalions 
attacked to the east of Indian Village. 

Previous to the move south the 14th Battalion lay for ten days in 
billets near Bailleul, resting and refitting after the Second Battle of 
Ypres. In that battle 4 officers of the Battalion had been killed and 
8 wounded; amongst the other ranks 65 had been killed, 143 wounded, 
and 49 taken prisoner. To fill the gaps caused by these losses a draft 
of 275 men from the 23rd Reserve Battalion was taken on the strength 
of the Battalion on May 6th. Lieut. I. G. Robertson reported for 
duty from England at this same time, and on the 12th of the month 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



53 



commissions were granted to Coy. Sergt.-Major C. B. Price, of No. 1 
Coy., Sergt. Dick Worrall, of No. 2 Coy., and Sergt, G. E. Leighton, 
all of whom had rendered conspicuous service at Ypres. Simultane- 
ously, promotion was given to a number of N.C.O’s. and men. 

At Bailleul equipment was issued to the men to replace the losses 
of the previous fortnight, and the new officers strove to attain the 
high standard set by those who had become casualties. Similarly, the 
men of the new draft worked to equal their brothers-in-arms, whose 
deeds at Ypres commanded their unstinted admiration. Distinguished 
visitors during the ten days included Lieut.-Gen. Alderson, who inspect- 
ed the Battalion and expressed pride in what it had accomplished; 
General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, who congratulated Lieut.-Col. 
Meighen and voiced agreement with the War Office statement that 
“the Canadian Division had undoubtedly saved the day”; Major- 
Gen. J. W. Carson, who brought greetings from the Canadian forces 
in England; and Brig. -Gen. R. E. W. Turner, V.C., who inspected the 
Battalion and satisfied himself regarding its reorganization. 

A feature of the Bailleul period which many Royal Montrealers 
recall was provided by the issue of Irish butter. Butter had been 
scarce for some time and the men received the round, gold-lettered 
cans of “ Guaranteed Finest Irish Butter ”, with unconcealed satis- 
faction. Buttered toast! Fried eggs and butter! Eagerly the cans 
were rushed to the cooks, who were ordered to waste no time in put- 
ting the contents to use. Meanwhile, an individual greedier, or 
perhaps it would be charitable to say, hungrier, than the rest, was 
digging at the cover of his can with a Lee-Enfield bayonet. Soon the 
point penetrated and simultaneously visions of golden butter faded. 
From the tin there escaped, like soda-water suddenly released, a sizz- 
ling fluid, foul smelling and horrible. “ If that’s Irish butter ”, 
remarked one N.C.O. disappointedly, “ thank God we have no Irish 
cheese ”. 

At 6.50 p.m. on May 14th the 3rd Brigade paraded in Bailleul and 
marched, by way of Estaires and Lestrem, to billets near Robecq. On 
this march the 14th Battalion, in rear of the Brigade, was halted by 
a G.S. wagon which broke down at a point where marsh prevented 
passage at the roadsides. When the obstruction was cleared, a Bri- 
gade guide led the Battalion astray, with the result that dawn found 
the men miles off their proper route. At daylight officers discovered 
the error, dismissed the humiliated guide, and themselves led the tired 
Battalion to billets at le Cornet Malo and Mont Bernenchon. 



54 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



On May 15th and lGth the Royal Montreal Regiment rested at 
le Cornet Malo, marching thence at 5 a.m. on May 17th and reaching 
le Touret some three hours later. Here the Battalion moved into 
breastworks anti trenches just south of the Bethunc-Neuve Chapelle 
Road. Rain fell throughout the day, which was uneventful, except 
for the interest aroused by the sight of Gurkhas, with prisoners, mov- 
ing back from the line, and the 4th Guards Brigade marching into 
action. The Guards, as always, afforded a splendid sight, and the 
Gurkhas, with their famous “ kukris ”, aroused the Canadians’ curi- 
osity. The sacred “ kukri ” knife, rumour had stated, was never 
drawn without the shedding of blood, even if the owner had to nick 
his own person to satisfy the weapon’s sanguinary honour. Alas! this 
fascinating legend soon faded into the limbo of abandoned beliefs, 
as several Gurkhas drew their kukris and unromantically proceeded 
to chop firewood. The brown men’s reputation for being quick with 
the knife was maintained, however, when a Gurkha leaped at a Ger- 
man officer prisoner who had contemptuously refused a proffered 
cigarette. Prompt interference alone saved the German’s life. Brig.- 
General Turner visited the Battalion at this time, apologetically 
explaining that he had been unable to arrange for a fight that day, 
but promising the men that they would see action on the morrow. 
Accordingly, at 9 p.m., the Battalion withdrew to Essars. billeting 
there, but prepared to advance on fifteen minutes’ notice. 

At 7 a.m. on May 18th the Royal Montreal Regiment moved into 
the trenches vacated the previous night. Here the Battalion remained 
until 2.30 p.m., when it advanced to old British trenches near Indian 
Village, east of the Rue de l’Epinette. Artillery fire was encountered 
during the move and, later, in assembly trenches, one shell caused 
11 casualties. Reply to this fire was being made by a battery of 
Indian mountain guns, whose amazing mobility provided the Cana- 
dians with no little amusement. The battery would come into action, 
fire a few rounds, dismount the guns, transfer them to a spot some 
distance away, and come into action again just as German shells 
began to drop on the position vacated. 

Soon after the 14th reached the assembly position, Brig.-General 
Turner summoned the Commanding Officers of the 3rd Brigade Bat- 
talions and explained the operation in which they were about to take 
part. The 14th and 16th Battalions had been chosen to advance on 
la Quinque Rue, northwest of a defended locality known as “ The 
Orchard ”. The 14th Battalion was to attack with two companies 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



DO 



and to hold two in reserve. The 16th Battalion was to attack on the 
right and the 14th Battalion on the left. To the left of the 14th was 
the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards. The intent of the attack was 
to close up a gap in the British line and capture the Orchard, should 
this prove possible. 

On the plan of attack being explained, Lieut.-Col. Meighen chose 
Nos. 1 and 3 Companies for the assault, the former under command 
of Major A. C. Shaw and the latter under Capt. V. G. Curry, who, 
though seriously ill, refused to be evacuated until the engagement had 
been fought. Major Shaw had as company officers Major J. N. War- 
minton, Lieut. R. W. Frost, and Lieut. C. B. Price; Capt. Curry had 
Lieuts. W. D. Adams, F. R. Heuston, and G. E. Leighton. Lieut.-Col. 
W. W. Burland was placed in command of the four attacking waves, 
which were to advance with 50 yards between waves and 5 paces 
separating each man from his neighbour to the right or left. A maze 
of intersecting ditches, trenches, and water-filled shell holes meant 
that direction would be maintained with difficulty, particularly as, in 
some cases, the ditches were too wide to jump and too deep to wade. 
Platoons in consequence would have to converge, cross on a single 
plank, and extend, only to repeat the manoeuvre a few score of yards 
further on. British staff officers, however, intimated to the Staff of 
the 3rd Canadian Brigade that the advance, in their opinion, would 
not encounter serious opposition. 

In preparation for the assault, Nos. 1 and 3 Companies advanced 
about 100 yards from the old British front line and took up a posi- 
tion in a German front line trench, captured a few days previously 
by men of an Imperial Brigade. From this position the companies 
of the 14th advanced at 4.20 p.m., the companies of the 16th Battalion 
on the flank following shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, the predic- 
tion of the British staff officers regarding opposition was not fulfilled, 
the men of the 14th encountering heavy fire as soon as they left their 
trenches. In spite of this fire, the attack progressed, though at one 
time it lost direction and swung to the right across the front where 
the companies of the 16th Battalion were coming up. Some time later 
this loss of direction was recognized and corrected, the 14th eventu- 
ally digging in, after an advance of approximately 500 yards, and con- 
necting up with the 16th Battalion on the right and the Grenadier 
Guards on the left. A line without a gap had accordingly been estab- 
lished, though capture of the .Orchard had proved impossible. 

Early in the advance of No. 1 Coy. Major A. C. Shaw was shot in 
the head, but continued to lead his men forward. Later he left the 



56 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



company and advanced with a runner, Private A. J. M. Craig, to recon- 
noitre his front. After progressing for several hundred yards and 
swimming some broad water-filled ditches, Pte. Craig’s right ann was 
shattered and the pair took refuge in a large shell hole. Craig now 
realized that all was not well with his officer and attempted to restrain 
him. Major Shaw, however, would permit no interference. He 
scrambled from the shell hole and marched boldly forward. In spite 
of his own serious wound, Craig attempted to follow, but before he 
could clear the lip of the shell hole he saw Major Shaw reach the edge 
of a ditch, or trench, throw up his hands, and pitch forward. Soon 
afterwards Craig was shot through the lung. That night two Germans 
reached the wounded runner, and, thinking him dead, removed his 
papers and valuables. Later Craig struggled to his feet and made his 
way through mud and water back to the lines of the 16th Battalion. 
Here he collapsed from exhaustion and loss of blood, but recovered by 
an effort of will to give a clear report to Lieut.-Col. Burland, who had 
been summoned from the 14th lines. From the moment when Major 
Shaw fell forward into the ditch nothing has been heard of him. In 
his passing the 14th Battalion suffered the loss of a capable and 
gallant officer. 

Late on the night of May 18th Nos. 1 and 3 Companies of the 
14th Battalion were withdrawn from the advanced trenches, which 
were taken over by an extension of the Guards and the Canadian 
Scottish. On relief Nos. 1 and 3 Companies joined Nos. 2 and 4 
Companies, who had taken position in the old German front line. 
During the advance of Nos. 1 and 3 Companies and the subsequent 
withdrawal casualties had totalled 67. Lieut. C. B. Price, D.C.M., 
had been severely wounded and 18 N.C.O’s. had been killed or wound- 
ed. Coming so soon after the Ypres engagement, these losses were 
sharply felt, but the end was not yet. 

From May 19th to May 22nd, the Royal Montreal Regiment lay 
in the old German trenches. On the 19th the Battalion suffered a 
severe loss when Major J. N. Warminton, who had succeeded to the 
command of No. 1 Coy., was killed by shell fire. Later the body of 
this officer was buried with full honours in the British Military Ceme- 
tery at the corner of the Rue du Bois and Rue de l’Epinette. Shell 
fire continued to take heavy toll after Major Warminton’s death, the 
Battalion between the 19th and 22nd of the month losing 75 other 
ranks killed and wounded, bringing the total for the engagement up 
to 143. 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



07 

On May 19th a draft of 25 men arrived from the 23rd Reserve 
Battalion in England and a few days afterwards Lieuts. R. Godwin, 
J. H. Richardson, and J. F. Sumption reported for duty, Lieut. Godwin 
later taking over command of the Machine Gun Section, vice Lieut. 
W. M. Pearce, who was wounded while temporarily attached to the 
13th Battalion. 

Throughout the stay of the 14th Battalion in the old front line 
trenches, burial parties were frequent, as the whole area was strewn 
with the bodies of those who had died in the fighting of the previous 
fortnight. Altogether, the men of the 14th saw to the burial of hun- 
dreds of British and German dead. The horror of life in such sur- 
roundings can with difficulty be exaggerated. One man writes in his 
diary: — “ I crawled back on the first night and got some water from 
a shell hole to make tea. We boiled it and enjoyed our hot drink. 
Next morning I went back to the same shell hole and was about to 
fill my tin when I saw the dead face of a German soldier looking up 
at me through the water 

While the British and German dead were being buried by parties 
of the 14th, Capt. Scrimger, who had established a dressing station at 
Indian Village, was caring for the wounded. The Medical Officer of 
the 13th Battalion was sick at this time, and accordingly Capt. 
Scrimger, Capt. Taylor, M.O. of the 15th Battalion, and Capt. Gillies, 
M.O. of the 16th Battalion, had placed upon them the medical work 
of the whole Brigade. The task of collecting the wounded at night, 
amid the complicated maze of trenches, mud, and watery ditches 
already described, was exhausting in the extreme. Capt. Scrimger 
was slightly wounded on one occasion and, during an attempt to reach 
the forward area on another, became lost and spent “ two hours of 
falling into shell holes and water-filled ditches No rest was possible 
on his return, however, as the wounded required constant attention. 

The devotion to duty practised by the Medical Officer during these 
trying days and nights undoubtedly stimulated the Battalion stretcher 
bearers, who, throughout the engagement, toiled unsparingly at their 
task. But the stretcher bearers were not alone in their effort to help 
the wounded. On the night of May 18th Bugler Anthony Ginley, aged 
15, twice made his way back from the front of No. 3 Coy. to guide 
stretcher bearers up through heavy shelling to a spot where wounded 
men were waiting. The daring of this young soldier and the uncanny 
skill with which he picked his way over the difficult ground were held 
by all ranks of the Regiment to be worthy of the highest commendation. 



58 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



II 

At 9 p.m. on May 22nd the 4th Canadian Battalion relieved the 
Royal Montreal Regiment, which marched to billets in le Hamel, 
situated on the Rue du Bois between le Touret and Bethune. Here 
four uneventful days were passed, the Battalion marching forward at 
7 p.m. on May 26th and relieving the Royal Canadian Dragoons 
(Seely’s Detachment) in trenches southeast of the Orchard at Festu- 
bert, and northwest of Givenchy lez la Bassee. Trenches to the right 
of this position were held by a Territorial battalion of the London 
Regiment, and on the left was the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish. 
During the tour that followed Nos. 2 and 3 Companies of the 14th 
occupied the front line, the former under command of Capt. A. S. 
English and the latter under Capt. W. D. Adams, the two combined 
being directed by Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland, Second-in-Command of 
the Regiment. Nos. 1 and 4 Companies, meanwhile, were in close 
support, No. 1 commanded by Capt. R. W. Frost and No. 4 under 
Capt. II. DesRosiers. The Battalion, as in every engagement up to 
this time, w r as commanded by Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen. 

Relief was difficult on this occasion owing to scattered posts com- 
prising the front line. One post, in an isolated trench, was completely 
overlooked until nearly midnight. A messenger then reported existence 
of the post to H.Q. and relief was arranged. When the men of the 14th 
Battalion took over from the Dragoons, they found, as during the 
previous tour, evidence of the fierce fighting which the area had wit- 
nessed not long before. Hundreds of dead bodies lay in the trenches 
and round about. “ The position ”, writes one diarist, “ is the most 
horrible place I have ever been in ”, and another adds, “ We had to 
walk over dead bodies and sleep beside them ”. Amongst the bodies 
found and buried by a party of the 14th, under Pioneer Sergt. Baker, 
was that of an officer, whom the Germans had apparently strangled. 
A rope had been twisted around this officer’s neck, all means of 
identification had been removed, and, from the condition of his cloth- 
ing, it seemed that he had been dragged about until he died. This 
body, which bore no wound, was buried, together with that of an 
officer of the 5th Canadian Battalion, on the field where death had 
been encountered. 

Dawn on May 27th revealed that a point, known as K5, was in 
possession of the enemy, though supposedly in the line held by the 
14th. A bombing party occupied and consolidated this point without 
resistance, further reconnaissance to the left failing to locate a definite 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



59 



enemy line. Knowing, however, that the Germans held a position 
named L8, a party from the Royal Montreal Regiment advanced along 
a trench towards this post, the enemy retiring promptly to the north. 
The accommodating attitude of the Germans was probably explained 
by the fact that the trench was mined. Fortunately, this was dis- 
covered and the wires cut, before the mine could be blown. Two 
wounded Germans, captured during the advance of the 14th party, 
were sent back for medical attention. During the operations Lieut. 
R. Roy and Corp. Langelier accomplished valuable work. 

On occupation of the trench between K5 and L8, the 14th Battalion 
established two blocks, about 150 yards apart. At night the men were 
withdrawn from between the blocks, owing to bad conditions there 
existing. Shortly before daylight a German party climbed the first 
block and took possession of the trench whence the men of the 14th 
had been withdrawn. This could not be tolerated and a platoon of 
No. 2 Coy. proceeded to dislodge them, the Germans throwing a few 
bombs, which exploded harmlessly, and then retreating as far as L8. 

During the operations mentioned above the Signal Section of the 
Royal Montreal Regiment laid telephone lines to the outlying posts 
and maintained communication between the companies and Battalion 
H.Q. On one occasion Signallers Hazelgrove and Bickley were detailed 
to lay a wire to advanced Headquarters by way of a roundabout com- 
munication trench. The straight line across the open, though danger- 
ous, seemed more practicable to the pair, who started to lay their line 
accordingly. Half way across the open they stumbled into a deserted 
German trench and found a machine gun with some sixty boxes of 
belted ammunition. Continuing, they brought their line to its destina- 
tion and established connection with H.Q., just as an abandoned Ger- 
men trench some yards further forward was blown up by mines. This 
trench was ungarrisoned at the time, though the Germans probably 
imagined otherwise. During this same operation, Signaller Barltrop 
and a companion were at work one night in No Man’s Land, when 
footsteps squelched in the mud a few feet away. Then a figure 
appeared and the Signallers challenged, “ Halt! Who goes there? ” 

A moment’s silence, then, “ British officer ”, came the reply. 

“ Name and regiment?” demanded the Signallers, keeping the 
halted figure covered. 

“ Barltrop is my name ”, came the answer. “ I’ll name my regi- 
ment when I know more of yours. Who are you anyway?” 

“ Personally ”, replied Signaller Barltrop of the 14th, “ I’m your 
brother 



60 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



191.5 



And so it proved; whereupon Lieut. Barltrop explained that he 
had been sent from the London Regiment on the flank with a message 
to 14th Battalion H.Q. and had lost his way, little thinking that it 
would be pointed out to him by a brother whom he had not seen 
for years. 

At night on May 28th the enemy attacked the barricade erected 
by the men of the 14th at L8. Bombing and counter-bombing fol- 
lowed, the attackers achieving not even a measure of success. Later 
that night when the 14th Battalion was relieved by the 13th Battalion, 
a working party of 100 men, under Lieuts. Dick Worrall and J. H. 
Richardson, remained to establish a line, previously reconnoitred by 
Sergt. II. G. Brewer, between K5 and the Post Office Rifles on the 
right. Some time after the relief Stretcher Bearer Lee, of the 14th, 
went into No Man’s Land to the assistance of a wounded German who 
called for help. Reaching the German, Lee fell wounded, whereupon 
two stretcher bearers of the 13th volunteered to bring him in. These 
bearers were in turn wounded, but before dawn all the fallen men, 
including the Gennan, were brought in to the Canadian lines by Capt. 
W. H. Clark-Kennedy and two stretcher bearers, all of the 13th 
Battalion. The assistance given to Stretcher Bearer Lee on this occa- 
sion was appreciated by officers and men of the 14th and served to 
strengthen the comradeship between the Royal Highlanders of Canada 
and the Royal Montreal Regiment. From the front line, stretcher 
bearers carried Lee to Indian Village, the ground being so difficult 
that four hours were taken to cover the few hundred yards. Unfor- 
tunately, Lee’s wounds were severe and he died after being evacuated 
from the Battalion Dressing Station. 

Following relief by the Royal Highlanders, the 14th Battalion 
moved to reserve trenches south of the Rue du Bois and west of Rue 
de l’Epinette, where four days were passed, the Regimental Diary 
recording that these were quiet, except for occasional German shells. 
At midnight on May 31st the Battalion left the reserve trenches and 
marched to rest billets at Oblinghem north west of Bethune. Here, 
a few days later, commissions were granted to Sergt. John Howe and 
Private Philippe Chevalier. 

After resting and refitting at Oblinghem, the Royal Montreal 
Regiment paraded at 5.30 p.m. on June 6th and relieved the 5th Cana- 
dian Battalion (Lieut. -Col. G. S. Tuxford) in trenches at Givenchy, 
on the bank of the La Bassee Canal. Reaching this position after an 
exceedingly hot march, Nos. 1 and 2 Companies moved into the front 
line, with Nos. 3 and 4 Companies in support and reserve. The 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



61 



trenches in this area had been constructed by the Brigade of Guards, 
under the supervision of Major Russell Brown, R.E., and were quite 
the finest the Canadians had seen, although the actual front consisted 
not of a continuous fire trench, but of strong redoubts connected by 
communication trenches. On taking over the front, the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment began construction of a fire trench, completing the work 
some days later. 

During the tour in the line the enemy shelled at intervals and 
sniped, and on the left flank, at a position known as the “ Duck’s 
Bill ”, bombers on both sides were active. On the right flank at night, 
German fixed rifles and machine guns swept the bank of the La Bassee 
Canal, the enemy evidently considering that random fire might there 
prove effective. In reply, Lieut. Godwin, of the 14th Battalion 
Machine Gun Section, fired on a road some thousand yards behind the 
German line. His fire, it seemed, was accurate, as German wagons 
were heard galloping away. 

After the Second Battle of Ypres, the men of the Canadian Divi- 
sion were always on guard against poison gas. A weathercock was 
accordingly mounted at Battalion H.Q. and the direction of the wind 
carefully observed. The Regimental Diary states that this was the 
first weathercock so used by a Canadian battalion. 

One night a patrol from No. 1 Coy. investigated a suspected Ger- 
man machine gun post, finding no enemy above ground, but hearing 
sounds which strongly suggested a mine beneath. A report of this dis- 
covery was promptly forwarded to Brigade Headquarters. On the 
afternoon of June 9th the Royal Montreal Regiment handed over the 
front line to the 13th Battalion and moved to reserve trenches near 
the Canal. Large working parties were supplied to the Engineers that 
night and on the following afternoon, after relief by the 3rd Canadian 
Battalion (Lieut.-Col. Rennie), the Regiment marched to billets on 
the north bank of the Canal at Bethune. 

There the Battalion remained for nine days, the men drilling and, 
in the intervals of training, swimming and carrying out aquatic sports 
in the Canal. On the day of the first water sports, a native gallery 
gathered to watch the fun, the good women of the town taking a frank 
interest in events, though puzzled by the embarrassment of the swim- 
mers, who had counted on absence of clothing to keep the women 
away. That night Battalion Headquarters emphasized its modesty 
by ordering all swimmers in future to wear adequate bathing suits. 
Bathing suits on active service! The men were dismayed, for nothing 



62 



THE IlOYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



191.5 



of the kind was obtainable, but soon some enterprising individual cut 
holes for his legs in a sandbag and the problem was solved. 

On June 13th it was announced that the Lee-Enfield rifle would 
replace the Ross as the authorized weapon of the Canadian forces. 
Most of the men had foreseen this change and quietly equipped them- 
selves from Imperial casualties. The minority now turned in their 
Rosses and formally received Lee-Enfields from stores. From the 
15th to the 18th of the month the Battalion “ stood to ”, pending the 
result of operations being carried out by the 1st Canadian Infantry 
Brigade. On June 19th, during a move of the Battalion to reserve 
billets at Beuvry, Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen, the Commanding Officer, 
left the unit in obedience to immediate orders which recalled him to 
Canada for special duty. Brigadier-General’s rank was given to him 
and, at a later date, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of 
St. Michael and St. George. In addition, his name was twice brought 
to the notice of the Secretary of State for War. When his period of 
service in Canada and later in England was completed, Brig.-Gen. 
Meighen voluntarily reverted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel to 
command the 87th Battalion, Canadian Grenadier Guards, in France. 
Throughout these transfers and in his new commands, he was followed 
by the good wishes of all ranks of his original battalion. On his depar- 
ture, command of the Royal Montreal Regiment was assumed by 
Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland. 

On the night of June 22nd, 1915, the 14th Battalion moved forward 
to reserve trenches (Givenchy Sector), and there passed two quiet 
and uneventful days, being relieved at 8 p.m. on the 24th by the 2 / 6th 
Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, and returning to billets at Beuvry. 
On the following day the Battalion was inspected by Brig.-General 
Turner, who announced that the Distinguished Service Order had been 
awarded to Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland and that, for bravery and 
devotion at the Second Battle of Ypres, Capt. F. A. C. Scrimger, 
Medical Officer of the Battalion, had been granted the Victoria Cross. 
Rain fell during the inspection, but failed to dampen the enthusiasm 
of the troops, who cheered heartily. Obviously the honours gained by 
the Commanding Officer and the Medical Officer were approved by 
all ranks of the Battalion. 



Ill 



Following the engagements on the Festubcrt-Givcnchv front, the 
Canadian Division turned once more towards the north, the 14th 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



63 



Battalion marching from Beuvry at 6.30 o’clock on the evening of 
June 26th and reaching Neuf Berquin at 4 o’clock on the following 
morning. Rain fell that day, but the men were comfortably billeted 
and not inconvenienced, except at night when the Battalion marched 
from Neuf Berquin to Outersteene. At Outersteene the first passes 
for leave to England were granted. After nearly five months of active 
service these were welcomed by the recipients and hardly less by those 
others who felt that their turn would soon come. 

On June 29th the Battalion paraded at 2.30 p.m. and marched 
three miles to near Steenwerck, following this move by another short 
march on June 30th to billets near la Creche. Four days were spent 
at la Creche, the Battalion marching on the evening of July 5th and 
relieving the 4th Canadian Battalion in trenches in front of Ploeg- 
steert Wood. 

On the way forward to the “ Plug Street ” trenches the men of the 
Battalion, passing through Ploegsteert Wood, were much interested 
in the board walks bearing the names of London streets; in field bat- 
teries hidden in attractive surroundings; and in' Headquarters huts, 
which reminded them of log cabins in the sugar bushes at home. On 
taking over the trenches from the 4th Battalion. Nos. 1, 2, and 4 Com- 
panies of the 14th moved into the front line, with No. 3 Coy. in sup- 
port. The positions occupied by all companies were clean and com- 
fortable, except for the presence in dugouts of an abnormal number 
of huge rats. The right of the front was not entirely a pleasant spot, 
however, as underneath a knoll, held by No. 4 Company, the Germans 
were supposed to have dug a mine. Some compensation for the tension 
of living over a potential volcano was supplied at this point by the 
presence of a great catapult, similar to those used in the days when 
Caesar’s legions were over-running Gaul. Bombs were fired at inter- 
vals from this dangerous contraption, also a few tins of bully beef. 
Probably the enemy regarded the beef as some particularly obnoxious 
Canadian poison. As ammunition the tins would otherwise fail to 
impress him. 

Snipers were active throughout the tour, four men of the 14th 
being hit and many others escaping by narrow margins. On July 6th 
British forces to the right feinted an attack to draw enemy troops 
into an area where artillery could deal with them, the 14th Battalion 
“ standing to ” during this operation, and No. 3 Coy. reinforcing the 
front line. Unfortunately, a Canadian battery fired short during the 
“ stand to ”, several shells crashing into the Royal Montrealers’ front 
line and inflicting casualties. 



64 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



Apart from the “ stand to ”, the chief work of the Regiment during 
the tour was carried out by large parties who assisted the Engineers 
in fortifying the Ploegsteert front and strengthening the defences of 
the famous wood. Such parties were not popular, as the work was 
hard and dangerous without compensating glory or excitement. More- 
over, the troops considered that, when in the front line, routine con- 
struction and repair of their own trenches was all that should be 
asked of them, and that ordinary working parties should be provided 
by units in reserve. Despite this belief, the men worked well with the 
Engineers and satisfactorily carried out the heavy tasks assigned to 
them, one party, under Lieut. Johnston, rendering specially good ser- 
vice in carrying forward under fire black powder and high explosive 
for a trench mine. 

On July 8th Lieut. -Col. F. W. Fisher, who had crossed from Canada 
in command of the 23rd Battalion, arrived in France to act as Lieut.- 
Col. Burland’s Second-in-Command. On the following night the 13th 
Battalion took over the Ploegsteert trenches, the 14th Battalion march- 
ing back to Brigade Reserve in the Piggeries. The Piggeries, situated 
in rear of Ploegsteert Wood, was a large building in which the King 
of the Belgians had kept a fine breed of swine. Inside were two rows 
of concrete sties, providing a hard bed, but one free of rats and 
vermin and for that reason acceptable to the troops. For five days 
the Battalion remained at the Piggeries, supplying working parties to 
the Engineers each day and night. These parties, consisting of 3 
officers and 150 men, worked on various forts and reserve trenches, 
passes to Ploegsteert affording diversion when the toil of the day, or 
night, was over. 

Meanwhile, in the front line, the 13th Battalion had occupied and 
consolidated the craters of several mines, blown under a position 
known as “ The Bird Cage This German position, situated only 
ten yards from the Canadian line, derived its name from wire netting 
which protected its garrison from bombs. As it had proved a trouble 
centre during their previous tour in the line, the men of the 14th heard 
that it had been blown up with distinct satisfaction, in no way dimin- 
ished by the fact that they were due to take over the front once more. 
Moving forward on the evening of July 14th, the Royal Montreal 
Regiment occupied the crater frontage. Heavy rain fell during the 
night and again on the 15th, interfering to some extent with work in 
the craters, where sniping had become exceedingly active. On the 
15th Pte. F. W. Heather was fatally wounded in one of the craters, 
and several additional casualties occurred before the tour was com- 



1915 



THE SUMMER OF 1915 



65 



pleted on the night of July 18th, amongst the wounded being Corp. 
L. W. Taylor. Pte. Heather, who fell in a spot exposed to both rifle 
and machine gun fire, was gallantly carried to shelter by Capt. W. G. 
Turner, acting Battalion M.O. 

On being relieved in the front line, Nos. 1 and 4 Companies of the 
Royal Montreal Regiment took over a defended locality in Ploeg- 
steert Wood from a battalion of the Berkshire Regiment, and Nos. 2 
and 3 Companies proceeded to reserve billets in La Grande Munque 
Farm. Working parties occupied much of the time on July 19th and 
20th, though at night on the latter date the Battalion “ stood to ” for 
an hour and a half, pending the outcome of some operation further 
forward. At 10.45 p.m. the “ stand to ” order was cancelled and the 
men dismissed. On July 21st the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade 
paraded for inspection by Lieut.-Gen. E. A. II. Alderson, C.B., who 
was accompanied by H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught, the Right 
Hon. Sir Robert Borden, Prime Minister of Canada, and Brig.-Gen. 
R. E. W. Turner, V.C. Following the inspection, the 14th Battalion 
marched to Ivortepyp Huts, near Neuve Eglise, there to pass a week 
in Divisional Reserve. 

While at Ivortepyp Huts drill, sports, and working parties occupied 
the men’s time, the week also being marked by the return to duty of 
Regimental Sergt.-Major J. M. Stephenson, who had been wounded 
at Ypres, and the taking on strength of a draft from the 23rd Reserve 
Battalion. The men of this draft had received a measure of instruc- 
tion in trench warfare when, on July 29th, the 14th Battalion moved 
forward through Ploegsteert Wood and relieved the 4th Canadian 
Battalion in the front line. 

July 30th was a quiet day on the front, though some trouble was 
caused by enemy trench mortars. At night a patrol, under Capt. W. 
D. Adams, moved into No Man’s Land and returned with valuable 
information. Later the enemy opened rapid fire, as if fearing an 
attack, or planning to launch one. Nos. 1, 3, and 4 Companies of the 
14th “ stood to ” during this demonstration, which died down shortly 
before dawn. That evening British artillery bombarded trenches and 
the ruins of a village to the 14th Battalion’s right, the Royal Montreal- 
ers commanding a magnificent view of proceedings and agreeing that a 
bombardment of someone else’s trenches provided a spectacle thrilling 
in the extreme. 

On August 1st Major Gault McCombe, who had been wounded at 
the Second Battle of Ypres, returned to the Battalion and took over 



GO 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



command of No. 3 Coy. Enemy grenade throwers and rifle grenadiers 
were active on this date, the Battalion losing several men wounded, 
among these being Sergt. Jock Walker, in charge of Battalion snipers. 
On the following day Brig.-General Turner inspected the trenches 
with care, and at night the 14th Battalion handed over the front to 
the 13th Battalion and proceeded to familiar billets in the Piggeries. 
From this spot working parties moved forward regularly to the front 
and reserve lines; and here the Battalion passed August 4th, the first 
anniversary of Britain’s war declaration against Germany. 



CHAPTER VI 



MESSINES 



It isn't the foe that we fear, 

It isn’t the bullets that whine, 

It isn’t the business career 

Of a shell, or the burst of a mine ; 

It isn’t the snipers who seek 
To nip our young hopes in the bud ; 

No, it isn’t the guns, 

And it isn’t the Huns, 

It’s the mud, mud, mud. 

— Robert Service. 



I 

I N mid-August, 1915, Brig.-Geu. R. E. W. Turner, Y.C., C.B., D.S.O., 
left the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade to assume command of 
the 2nd Canadian Division, in England. General Turner had led 
the 3rd Brigade for a year and had directed operations at all times in 
a manner which commanded the admiration of his battalions. News 
of his departure, therefore, was received with regret, tempered only 
by satisfaction at his promotion and by a feeling that in Lieut.-Col. 
R. G. E. Leckie, of the 16th Battalion, the Brigade had secured a 
leader worthy to follow in the original commander’s footsteps. 

For eight months after Gen. Turner left, the battalions of the 3rd 
Brigade held trenches on the Messines front, carrying out routine 
duties of an arduous nature, suffering not infrequently from sharp 
artillery fire, and constantly from snipers, machine guns, and rifle 
fire. At first the line was dry and comfortable, but, with the advent 
of winter, the River Douve overflowed its banks, flooding trenches, 
communication trenches, dugouts, strong posts, and billets and render- 
ing the life of the men miserable in the extreme, so much so that, in 
speaking of Messines, a soldier will mention rain, water, mud, and 
cold more frequently than bullets, bombs, or shell fire. The human 
enemy was almost forgotten in coping with w r ater and mud. 

On August 6th, 1915, the 14th Battalion took over the reserve posi- 
tion supporting trenches 135-138, the men occupying tents and bivou- 
acs and Battalion Headquarters being established in Red Lodge. 
Major-Gen. Sir Sam Hughes and Staff visited this position on the 
following day and the Battalion paraded for inspection. Unfortun- 
ately, the occasion was marred by a salvo of 4.1-inch shells which 



G8 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



hurst some distance away. Being unwilling to subject General Hughes 
to avoidable risk, Lieut.-Col. Fisher dismissed the men, who returned 
to routine occupations. 

Three days after Sir Sam’s visit, 200 men of the Battalion and 
all officers not on duty marched to 2nd Brigade Headquarters where, 
under the supervision of the Divisional Commander, Lieut.-Gen. E. 
A. H. Alderson, C.B., gas helmets were tested. Donning the helmets, 
which had been issued a short time previously, the men passed through 
chlorine gas concentrated in a trench. On the whole the test demon- 
strated to the doubting men that the helmets afforded protection, 
though incipient confidence was shaken when Lieut. E. Leprohon’s 
helmet proved defective. After recovering in Canada from the effects 
of the gas inhaled on this occasion, Lieut. Leprohon was promoted to 
the rank of lieutenant-colonel and appointed to the Conducting Staff 
of the Canadian Transport Service. On July 2nd, 1918, he was in 
command of 18 officers and 1,313 men on board the S.S. City of 
Vienna, outward bound from Montreal, when that vessel was wrecked 
on Black Rock, not far from Halifax. Owing in no small measure 
to the good discipline wdiich Lieut.-Col. Leprohon maintained, all 
troops were removed from the wrecked vessel in safety. 

At 9 p.m. on August 10th, the 14th Battalion moved a short dis- 
tance into Divisional Reserve. On the 12th the companies paraded 
and marched in order to new Divisional Baths on the Neuve Eglise 
Road. Working parties, 150 strong, featured the next four days, and 
on the 18th of the month Field Marshal Earl Kitchener of Khartoum, 
British Secretary of State for War, inspected the Battalion on the 
Bailleul Road. From August 19th to 23rd the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment occupied Trenches 135-137. On the 20th of the month the Ger- 
mans planted a sign board in No Man’s Land with news of Teutonic 
successes in Russia. This was brought in by a Canadian patrol, the 
men of the 14th replying by various hastily constructed signs, broadly 
humorous and generally satiric in nature. 

Following relief by the 13th Battalion, the 14th Battalion occupied 
reserve positions in Ploegsteert Wood, furnishing working parties of 
150 men to the Engineers each day and night, and moving forward 
into Trenches 135-137 again on the night of August 29th. During the 
live-day tour that followed rain called forth many repairing parties, 
No. 1 Coy. also working on the deepening of Currie Avenue communi- 
cation trench. Night patrols were frequent and listening posts were 
established to check the enemy’s movements. On the 31st of the 
month Ration Farm and Battalion Headquarters at La Plus Douce 



1915 



MESSINES 



69 



Farm were shelled, among the casualties being Regimental Sergt.- 
Major J. M. Stephenson, who a few w'eeks previously had rejoined the 
Battalion after recovering from a wound received in the Second Battle 
of Ypres. Following Stephenson’s evacuation, Sergt. W. A. Bonshor 
became Regimental Sergt.-Major. 

On the night of September 3rd the 13th Battalion took over 
Trenches 135-137, the Royal Montreal Regiment moving back to 
spend five days in Divisional Reserve at Kortepyp Huts. Here a 
draft of 250 men strengthened the Battalion, which, on the 7th, was 
inspected by Gen. Plumer, who was accompanied by Lieut.-Gen. 
Alderson and Brig.-Gen. R. G. E. Leckie, G.O.C. the 3rd Canadian 
Brigade. Previous to this inspection improved tube gas helmets had 
been issued. These, the men professed, were issued to afford protection 
during the concluding remarks which Gen. Plumer would deliver. 
“ Gas ”, however, could not be detected in the soldierly speech with 
which the General brought his inspection to a close. 

From September 8th to 13th the Battalion occupied Trenches 135- 
137, working and repair parties keeping the men extremely busy. On 
relief, the unit moved to Brigade Reserve positions at Courte Dreve 
Farm, a fine old place, surrounded by a moat, in which swam scores of 
gold and silver fish. These fed, so far as could be judged, on a green 
water-cress, which, at a distance, gave the moat the appearance of 
being coated with unattractive scum. In a chapel attached to the 
farm-house Canon Scott on one occasion held an early morning cele- 
bration of Holy Communion for the men. On hearing of this at 
breakfast, Lieut. -Col. Burland expressed regret that he and Lieut. - 
Col. Fisher had not been invited to attend. Canon Scott listened 
gravely, smiled, and quietly remarked, “ I’m sorry. I shall hold a 
special service for you at five to-morrow morning ”. And he did. 
After three days in the shell-battered neighbourhood of Courte Dreve 
Farm, the 14th Battalion was relieved by King Edward’s Horse and 
moved to Kortepyp Huts and Westhof Farm, remaining there until 
6.30 o’clock on the morning of September 21st, when it marched to 
Locre. 

Three days were spent at Locre, these being marked by the arrival 
of the 24th Battalion (Victoria Rifles of Canada) of the 2nd Canadian 
Division. With the arrival of General R. E. W. Turner’s 2nd Division 
in France there came into existence that formation since famed as 
the “ Canadian Corps ”. Lieut.-Gen. E. A. H. Alderson was promoted 
from command of the 1st Canadian Division to command the new 



70 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



Army Corps, and was succeeded in his former post by Major-Gen. 
A. W. Currie, C.B., who had won advancement by skilful leadership 
of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. Following the arrival of the 
24th Battalion at Locre, the 14th Battalion moved forward on Sep- 
tember 24th and relieved the 13th Battalion in the front line (Linden- 
hoek Area), Headquarters being established at Tea Farm. Immedi- 
ately on taking over the trenches the men of the 14th were ordered 
to carry kerosene-soaked bags of straw into the front line. A smoke 
and artillery demonstration on a wide front had been planned for the 
morning of September 25th, but, on the 3rd Brigade front, the wind 
was unfavourable and the demonstration cancelled. Elsewhere it took 
place, the men of the 14th, from high ground, enjoying the impressive 
sight as several miles of smoke cloud rolled forward from trenches to 
the south. The demonstration on the whole front coincided with the 
opening of the Battle of Loos. This engagement continued until Octo- 
ber 8th, rendering support to General Foch’s attack against Vimv and 
to the greater offensive which General Joffre was conducting in Cham- 
pagne, but failing to achieve the measure of success at first expected. 
During the course of the engagement, however, the British captured 
approximately 3,000 prisoners and 26 field guns. 

On the night of September 25th the 29th Canadian Battalion 
relieved the 14th, relief being completed at 3.10 a.m. and the Royal 
Montrealers reaching billets at Kortepyp Huts and Westhof Farm 
some two hours later. After resting all day, the men of the 14th 
paraded at 6.45 p.m. and moved forward once more into the front line, 
taking over Trenches 113-120 from a battalion of the Berkshire Regi- 
ment and establishing II. Q. at Rifle House. Seven days were spent 
in this position, during which instruction in trench warfare was given 
to platoons of the 11th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, and to the 4th 
Canadian Mounted Rifles. On September 30th commissions were 
granted to Sergts. H. G. Brewer and R. C. MacKenzie, these dating as 
from September 23rd. At 9 o’clock on the night of October 3rd the 
11th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, took over the front, the Royal 
Montreal Regiment proceeding to Aldershot Camp and moving thence 
on the following afternoon to Brigade Reserve billets at Courte Dreve. 

During the remainder of October the 14th Battalion alternated 
with the 13th Battalion in reserve billets and the front line. When 
in reserve the Battalion occupied Courte Dreve Farm, or Kortepyp 
Huts; when in the lino it held Trenches 135, 136, 137, and usually 138. 
Battalion Headquarters, during the trench tours, was located at Plus 
Douce Farm, which, incidentally, bore on its walls sketches by a 



1915 



MESSIXES 



71 



previous occupant, Lieut. Bruce Bairnsfather, whose “ Fragments from 
France ” were outstanding amongst British cartoons of the war. On 
October 13th the Canadian Divisional Artillery opened fire on the 
enemy trenches and shortly thereafter the infantry simulated a gas 
attack, smoke bombs, made by the men of the 14th Battalion Grenade 
Section, under Capt. G. L. Dobbin, proving most useful. During a 
later tour in Trenches 135-138, the 14th Battalion took into the line 
for instruction four platoons of the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders 
of Canada. This Montreal battalion, which eventually became part 
of the 7th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, had recently arrived in 
France and, together with the Royal Canadian Regiment, the Princess 
Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and the 49th Edmonton Battalion, 
was serving as Corps Troops. On October 17th, following an inspec- 
tion by Brig. -Gen. Leckie, the Royal Montreal Regiment carried out 
for the 42nd a demonstration of battalion in attack. 

On October 26th a German plane fell in the 14th Battalion lines 
and a group of Royal Montrealers found that the pilot had been killed 
and his observer severely wounded. On closer inspection the Cana- 
dians discovered that the plane carried Colt Machine Gun Xo. 1449, a 
weapon which the 14th Battalion had brought over from Canada and 
which had been lost during the Second Battle of Ypres. Now, after 
six months in enemy hands, the gun dropped from the clouds into the 
trenches of its original owners, who welcomed it and fought to retain 
it against the unromantic red tape which ordered it into stores. To 
the men of the Machine Gun Section “ 1449 ” was a comrade escaped 
from captivity, and the idea of yielding the gun to stores none would 
contemplate. All instructions from distant powers were accordingly 
“ misunderstood ”, and the gun remains in the Regiment’s possession 
to this day. 

On October 28th Lieut. -Col. W. W. Burland, D.S.O., left the Royal 
Montreal Regiment to become Commandant of the Canadian Military 
School at Shorneliffe. At a later date he received a Staff appointment 
with the Imperial Army and returned to France. Lieut. -Col. Burland 
had commanded the 14th Battalion for nearly five months, had pre- 
viously served as Second-in-Command, and had received the D.S.O. 
following the Second Battle of Ypres. He had commanded the attack- 
ing waves at Festubert and had at all times worked unsparingly. All 
ranks, therefore, bade him farewell with regret and appreciation of 
his services. With him he took to England Capt. A. P. Holt, the 
Adjutant, who had served the Battalion from the time of its organiza- 
tion and became Staff Adjutant of the School at Shorneliffe. On 



72 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



Lieut. -Col. Burland’s departure, Lieut.-Col. F. W. Fisher assumed 
command of the Regiment and Capt. E. A. Whitehead, who had recov- 
ered from the wound received during the Second Battle of Ypres, suc- 
ceeded Capt. Holt as Adjutant. 

In many ways the work of the Battalion in November, 1915, dupli- 
cated the work accomplished during October. Four trench tours, 
totalling 16 days, took place, the Battalion in each case relieving, and 
being relieved by, the 13th Battalion. Trenches 135-138 were occupied 
during three of these tours, but for the fourth three companies moved 
into the front line and took over Trenches 136-141. When out of the 
line the Battalion occupied billets in Kortepyp Huts, Courte Dreve 
Farm, or Red Lodge. 

On November 9th the Royal Montreal Regiment moved up for a 
tour in the line. Rain had fallen continuously for some days and 
more fell during the tour, with the result that the River Douve over- 
flowed its banks and flooded the adjoining system of trenches. Bat- 
talion Headquarters at Plus Douce Farm was inundated at 5 o’clock 
on the morning of November 13th and was moved to Brigade Battle 
Headquarters behind Hill 63. Writing of the flood during this tour in 
the line, an officer of the Battalion states: “ Practically continuous 

rain for the past ten days has converted our front into a labyrinth of 
canals. This morning the waters of the River Douve rose to such a 
height that No. 4 Coy., in support, was compelled to evacuate its posi- 
tion and retire behind No. 2 Coy. in reserve. The water rose so rapidly 
during the night that many of the men had to run for it, leaving all 
equipment, even their rifles, behind. An officer’s servant, sleeping on 
a table in the Mess, wakened to find chairs and benches floating around 
him in two feet of water. At Battalion Headquarters matters were 
even worse. Col. Fisher ordered a ditch dug to protect the officers’ 
dugouts. This was a success insofar as it temporarily diverted the 
water from 14th Battalion H.Q., but, unfortunately, 15th Battalion 
ILQ., situated on lower ground, got the full benefit. The rain con- 
tinued and the protective ditch failed. ILQ. was flooded and officers’ 
equipment reposed under four feet of icy water. The Colonel escaped 
with one top boot and they are still grappling for the other. Quarter- 
master-Sergeant F. Lukeman rescued the papers and records from the 
Orderly Room dugout by getting in through the roof. A Signaller, 
asleep in an upper berth in a dugout, awoke to find the place aflood 
and the low entrance blocked by four feet of dirty water. He dived 
and swam for it, without awaiting developments. In the front line 
mud and water are knee deep; in communication trenches the water 



1915 



MESSINES 



in places reaches one’s waist. Sleep is impossible, as every man is 
working day and night on parapets. All reliefs must now pass over- 
land to the front line. In spite of these handicaps, however, the men 
are well fed and most of the time they are too busy to worry about 
the hardships ”. 

In addition to floods, this particular tour in the line was marked 
by the accidental wounding of Regimental Sergeant-Major W. A. Bon- 
shor, who was struck in the leg when a nose cap. brought from the front 
line by Capt. DesRosiers, was exploded at Battalion Headquarters by 
rifle fire. Another incident was the arrival from England of Capt. T. 
R. MacKenzie. Later in the month Sergt. J. K. Nesbitt was awarded 
a commission and appointed to No. 1 Coy., and Capt. J. P. Killoran 
joined as Roman Catholic Chaplain. On the 26th of the month five 
corporals were wounded during a bombardment, which, possibly, was 
a part of enemy retaliation for the daring of the 5th and 7th Canadian 
Battalions, who ten days previously had carried out a raid on the 
enemy lines, capturing prisoners, killing many Germans, and destroy- 
ing much material. Later in the war such operations were not uncom- 
mon. At this time a raid represented a new form of hostilities, or 
rather a form elaborated and improved since first used by Indian 
troops on the la Bassee front in the autumn of the previous year. 

Including the losses caused by the enemy shelling on November 
26th, the casualties of the 14th Battalion up to this time totalled 22 
officers and 614 men. Four officers and 84 other ranks had fallen in 
action; 39 other ranks had died of wounds; 3 other ranks had died of 
illness; 16 officers and 402 other ranks had been wounded; 53 other 
ranks had been taken prisoners of war; and 2 officers and 33 other 
ranks were listed on the Battalion rolls as “ missing ”. In the 1st 
Canadian Division the grand total of all casualties at this same date 
amounted to 11,915; the 2nd Canadian Division had not yet gone 
through a heavy engagement, but, from trench warfare alone, had 
suffered a loss of approximately 1,100 men. 

Throughout December the 14th Battalion continued to alternate 
with the 13th Battalion in billets and the front line. At noon on 
December 19th Sir Douglas Haig took command of the British Armies 
in France, vice Sir John French, who was recalled for duty in the 
British Isles. Changes in the higher command mean little in the life 
of a battalion, the men being more immediately concerned with changes 
and promotions nearer at hand. On December 21st Lieut. W. E. 
Beaton arrived from England and was posted to No. 1 Coy., and a 



74 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1915 



little later Lieut. Dick Worrall was appointed Battalion Scout Officer 
and placed in command of all patrols. Previously patrols had been 
under the direction of the different companies. Immediately on taking 
over his new duties Lieut. Worrall started to establish Canadian 
superiority in No Man’s Land. A sharp encounter between patrols 
occurred on the night of December 22nd, the patrol of the Royal 
Montreal Regiment suffering several casualties, one of whom Worrall 
carried in on his back. Later in the night an enemy patrol wiped out 
a Royal Montreal listening post where two men were stationed. This 
did not make an auspicious beginning, but Worrall was not discour- 
aged, his patrols thereafter proceeding nightly into No Man’s Land 
and gradually establishing overwhelming superiority. When the 14th 
Battalion was out of the line, patrols of the 13th Battalion carried on, 
the two battalions eventually coming to regard No Man’s Land as 
t heir’s from dark till dawn. The enemy finally accepted this state of 
'flairs and sent out patrols at increasingly infrequent intervals. 

On December 24th a sergeant of No. 4 Coy., apparently demented, 
walked over to the German line in broad daylight and was taken 
prisoner. That night the 14th Battalion was relieved by the 13th 
Highlanders, Canon Scott taking up a position to wish the incoming 
and outgoing men a “Merry Christmas”! Unfortunately, the spot 
chosen by the good padre was beside a slippery plank bridge, off which, 
in the pitch darkness, many of the troops tumbled into a foot or more 
of icy mud and water. Cursing and sputtering, the men crawled out 
of the ditch, the padre seizing them by the hand and wishing them the 
merriest of merry Christmases. It is not to be supposed that the 
humour of this situation was lost on the Canon, the men maintaining 
that his eye gleamed with laughter even in the dark. Certainly his 
cheery greeting under such circumstances appealed to the men who 
proceeded forward, or back, chuckling amusedly. 

Reaching Kortepyp Huts late on the night of December 24th, the 
men of the 14th turned in for a few hours’ sleep and then gave them- 
selves over to celebration of the Christmas holiday. Routine training 
was resumed on the morning of the 26th and on the night of the 29th 
the unit moved into the front line once more. Some days later 
Trenches 139-141 were heavily shelled, Sergeants Neilson and Cowan 
and ten men being wounded and two men killed. That same night 
Sergt. W. C. Blackett of the recently formed Scout Section was acci- 
dentally killed while on patrol. A further loss to the Battalion at this 
time was caused by departure of Capt. F. A. C. Scrimger, V.C., to join 
the staff of No. 1 Canadian General Hospital. Capt. Scrimger’s work 



1916 



MESSINES 



to 



as M.O. of the Regiment had been of the finest character and all ranks, 
appreciating what he had accomplished, joined in wishing him well. 

II 

January 1st, 1916, found the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment, holding Trenches 136-141, with Headquarters at Fisher’s Place. 
Four day tours in the line and in reserve continued throughout the 
month, each tour resembling closely the one which preceded it and 
the one which followed, and each adding a few names to the ever 
growing list of killed, wounded, or missing. On January 4th Lieut. J. 
F. Adams left the Regiment to take up an appointment in England, 
Lieut. J. H. Richardson following on the 12th of the month to take 
over duty in Canada. On January 31st the Regiment paraded at 
Kortepyp Huts, marching thence at 11 a.m. and reaching a point near 
Meteren at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Here the men took over billets, 
the Battalion acting as Corps Reserve until the afternoon of Febru- 
ary 20th. 

On February 10th the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade was 
reviewed by Earl Kitchener. Some idea of the further activities of 
the Battalion while in Corps Reserve may be gained from the Battalion 
Diary. Amongst other items, this document mentions, physical drills, 
hut inspections, company drills, lectures to N.C.O’s., platoon drills, 
bathing parades, baseball and football games, church parades, squad 
drills, musketry, signalling practice, grenade attack practice, smoke 
helmet drill, repairing and improving trench practice, lecture on 
“ bombs in trenches ”, lecture on “ buzzer signalling ”, lecture on “ cat- 
apults and spring guns ”, practice of battalion in attack, typhoid inoc- 
ulations, and bomb throwing contests. While these varied events were 
taking place, the Battalion, technically speaking, was “ resting 

On February 20th the rest period came to an end, the Battalion 
marching to Red Lodge in the afternoon and relieving the 5th Cana- 
dian Mounted Rifles, of the 3rd Division, in Brigade Reserve. From 
Red Lodge the Royal Montrealers moved forward on the following 
afternoon, taking over Trenches 136-141 from the 4th Canadian 
Mounted Rifles. Relief was completed at 8 p.m. and the 14th Battalion 
carried out a six-day tour in the line, handing over to the 13th Bat- 
talion at 8.05 p.m. on February 27th. During the tour in the line, the 
Battalion Scouts, under Lieut. Dick Worrall, set about re-establishing 
Canadian domination of No Man’s Land. Faced by experienced Prus- 
sian troops, the men of the newly arrived 3rd Canadian Division had 



76 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



been unable to maintain the measure of superiority which veterans of 
the 1st Division regarded as essential. A strong enemy patrol was 
encountered by Worrall’s party soon after darkness had fallen on the 
night of February 21st. This German patrol was driven back, the 
men of the 14th pressing a vicious bombing attack which gave the 
enemy no rest until he retired behind the shelter of his own wire. 
Thereafter the Royal Montrealers maintained their supremacy. On 
several occasions the enemy made a fight of it, but before the tour 
ended he bowed to the inevitable and patrols of the Canadians waited 
for him in vain in the very shadow of his own wire. 

Following relief by the 13th Battalion, the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment spent February 28th and 29th at Red Lodge, whence working 
parties, 465 strong, were furnished to construct defences under super- 
vision of the Engineers. From the 1st to the 25th of March the Bat- 
talion continued to move in and out of the trenches on the Messines 
front, furnishing large working parties to the Engineers at frequent 
intervals and, when in the line, instructing platoons from the 58th 
Canadian Battalion and the 1st Canadian Pioneer Battalion. On 
March 18th Lieut. -Col. F. W. Fisher left the Battalion to take over 
duties in England. Lieut.-Col. Fisher had commanded the Regiment 
for nearly five months, a period when no battle honours were gained, 
but during which the Battalion accomplished work calling for courage, 
endurance, and marked determination. No man of the 14th Battalion 
who went through the winter of 1915-16 on the Messines front will 
forget Trenches 135-141, the misery of life when the Douve overflowed 
its banks, the cruel monotony of sodden clothes, the exhausting toil of 
carrying heavy material through thigh-deep mud, the tragedies when 
sudden shelling blasted the flooded trenches, or the Colonel who shared 
in all the hardships and gave his best in the interests of those under 
his command. 



CHAPTER VII 



BACK TO THE SALIENT 



Saint George he was a fighting man, as all the tales do tell ; 

He fought a battle long ago, and fought it wondrous well. 

With his helmet, and his hauberk, and his good cross-hilted sword, 
Oh, he rode a-slaying dragons to the glory of the Lord. 

Saint George he was a fighting man, he’s here and fighting still 
While any wrong is yet to right or Dragon yet to kill, 

And faith! he’s finding work this day to suit his war-worn sword, 
For he’s strafing Huns in Flanders to the glory of the Lord. 



HEX Lieut. -Col. F. W. Fisher returned to England on March 



18, 1916, command of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 



Regiment, was assumed by Major R. P. Clark, M.C., who 
shortly afterwards w*as promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. 
Major Clark had crossed from Canada with the 1st Canadian Con- 
tingent, proceeded to France on the Staff of the 2nd Canadian Infantry 
Brigade, and subsequently served as Staff Captain at Canadian Corps 
Headquarters. There his work had won the Military Cross, and his 
personality, ability, and devotion to duty had marked him for promo- 
tion to command of a battalion. Accordingly, he accepted command 
of the Royal Montreal Regiment, just when that unit was completing 
its long period of service on the front opposite Messines and preparing 
to move northward into the Ypres Salient. On March 17th the first 
units of the Canadian Corps moved out, others following daily and 
marching to replace units of the British V. Corps, holding the Salient’s 
southern curve. On April 4th Lieut. -Gen. E. A. H. Alderson, Canadian 
Corps Commander, took over the new area, the last Canadian unit 
moving into place four days later. 

Before the move of the Corps was completed, the 2nd Canadian 
Division became involved in bitter fighting, of the type which sooner 
or later fell to the lot of any unit working in the bloody arc surround- 
ing Ypres. For a month the battle swayed in and out of a series of 
mine craters near St. Eloi, testing the courage, fibre, and endurance 
of the 2nd Division, as the 1st Division had been tested, on ground a 
few miles away, in April of the previous year. And the test showed 
that the metal was the same, for the 2nd Division, though forced out 
of the craters which were the focus of the battle, fought until these 
positions were smashed beyond all recognition. 



— C. Fox Smith. 



I 




78 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



While the 2nd Division was fighting at St. Eloi, the 1st Division 
was moving northward from Messines. On March 25th the 14th Bat- 
talion marched from Red Lodge to Rest Area No. 2, near Bailleul. pro- 
ceeding thence at 9.30 a.m. on March 28th and reaching Canada Huts, 
near Ouderdom, five hours later. On the occasion of this march the 
3rd Brigade was under the command of Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, 
C.M.G., formerly Commanding Officer of the 5th Canadian Battalion, 
who had succeeded Brig.-Gen. R. G. E. Leckie, C.M.G., when the latter 
was wounded on February 17th. During the march the Brigade passed 
some Northumberland Fusiliers, coming out of the line after a suc- 
cessful local attack at the Bluff-International Trench position on the 
Ypres-Comines Canal. The Northumberlands, young lads for the 
most part, were in high spirits and seemed to feel that the coming 
“ season ” in the Salient would witness many satisfactory changes. 

At 9.15 o’clock on the night of March 29th, the 14th Battalion 
relieved the 7th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, in Brigade 
Reserve positions at Swan Chateau, Woodcote House, Sunken Road, 
Blauwe Poort Farm, Cafe Beige, and Canal Dugouts. These locations, 
familiar to all troops visiting the southern curve of the Salient, are 
famous in song and story, but Swan Chateau is probably the most 
famous of all. The inhabitants of the Chateau had been driven away 
by the approach of war, and the house had suffered appreciably from 
German shells; but in its battered moat there still floated a white swan, 
sole survivor of a flock whose dignified movements had delighted visi- 
tors in the far-off days “ avant la guerre This bird had suffered 
from the war and one eye had been torn out by shrapnel. Like the 
Chateau, however, the bird awaited with apparent fortitude the day 
when the Hun should tread the soil of France no more, accepting in 
the meantime such courtesy and attention as the khaki-clad allies of 
France cared to offer. At first the bird presented difficulties to the 
kind-hearted British Army, but long before the 14th Battalion arrived 
on the scene some genial adjutant had solved the problem by listing 
the swan as “ trench stores ”. Each incoming unit signed a receipt 
for the “ trench stores ” in question and drew rations for the swan 
until relieved. Probably this swan is the only one which has appeared 
on the ration strength of the British Army. 

Five days were spent by the Battalion in Brigade Reserve, several 
working parties being furnished to the Engineers and the whole time 
marked by that artillery and aerial activity conspicuously absent at 
Messines. This activity, coupled with the fact that the Divisional 
front extended from the Ypres-Comines Canal on the right to Mount 



1916 



BACK TO THE SALIENT 



79 



Sorrel on the left and included such famous positions as The Bluff, 
International Trench, and Hill 60, indicated to the men that mud, 
though objectionable, was no longer their principal foe. Accordingly, 
they prepared for whatever hard knocks the Salient might have in 
store. 

On April 3rd the 14th Battalion moved forward at night to relieve 
the 13th Battalion in front line trenches opposite Hill 60. Battalion 
H. Q. was established behind a pile of earth, known officially as “ Hill 
59 ”, but more familiar under its trench designation of “ The Dump 
Two other ranks were wounded during the relief which was completed 
at 10.20 p.m. 

In the front line the Battalion spent five days, which were by no 
means uneventful. German aeroplanes dominated the Salient at this 
time and the enemy infantry commanded a view of the whole Canadian 
line, these circumstances assisting the enemy artillery and encouraging 
his snipers in the never-ending fight for local supremacy. Shelling of 
Battalion Headquarters occurred on April 4th, and on the 5th the 
enemy pounded the whole front with rifle grenades. Heavy shelling 
also took place, 4 men of the Battalion being killed and 9 wounded. 
Sharp reply to these demonstrations was made by the Royal Montreal 
Rifle Grenade Section on April 6th, the Trench Mortar Battery assist- 
ing by shelling heavily. Enemy snipers became active during the day 
and Lieut. F. R. Heuston, an original officer of the Battalion, was shot 
through the head and killed. Capt. T. R. MacKenzie, who had joined 
the unit in the previous November, was also shot through the head, 
being saved from death by his steel helmet. These had been issued 
a few days previously, experience having shown that thin steel would 
deflect shrapnel and was, consequently, more suitable than a cloth 
cap for trench headgear. 

Two days after the death of Lieut. Heuston and the wounding of 
Capt. MacKenzie, Battalion Headquarters and the dugout sheltering 
the Officers’ Mess, together with all the Battalion’s records and docu- 
ments, were destroyed by shell fire. One shell hit the telephone in the 
Orderly Room less than a minute after the Acting Adjutant, Capt. C. 
B. Price, D.C.M., had moved away. Shelling of the whole area con- 
tinued into the night and relief by the 10th Canadian Battalion, which 
was to have taken place at 8 p.m., was delayed until 3 o’clock on the 
morning of April 9th. On relief, the 14th Battalion, which had suffered 
casualties totalling 7 killed and 43 wounded, withdrew to Canada Huts 
in Divisional Reserve. 



80 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1910 



At Canada Huts, and later, following a move to Dickebusch Huts 
on April 15th, the Battalion carried out a syllabus of training. A 
general impression of what such training involved can be gained from 
the programme of a day selected at random. On a certain day, then, 
No. 1 Coy. held the usual daily rifle and ammunition inspection, and 
practised musketry, and the N.C.O’s. attended a lecture on the “ De- 
tails of Discipline No. 2 Coy. held rifle, ammunition, and gas helmet 
inspections, practised musketry, and carried out squad and platoon 
drills; No. 3 Coy. held the usual inspections, practised “ shell alarm ”, 
and paraded to Poperinghe for baths; No. 4 Coy., in addition to routine 
inspections and physical drill, practised on the rifle ranges; and the 
Machine Gun Battery, the Snipers, the Scouts, the Bombers, and the 
Signallers all practised their respective specialties. Officers took part 
in all training during the period and carried out the following special 
syllabus of their own: 

April 10. — Lecture by Brigade Grenade Officer. 

April 16. — Machine Gun demonstration, every officer 
firing several rounds. 

April 17. — Revolver practice. Lecture by Battalion 
Machine Gun Officer. 

April 18. — Course in throwing live grenades and firing 
rifle grenades. 

April 21. — Lecture by A.D.M.S. on sanitation and pre- 
vention of disease. 

April 22. — Lecture by Battalion Medical Officer on First 
Aid. 



From April 17th to 22nd the Battalion furnished daily working 
parties, approximately 275 strong, diversion, following the day’s work, 
being provided by passes to Poperinghe, where a soldiers’ concert 
party, known as “ The Follies ”, offered a brilliant programme of fun 
and laughter. On April 19th Lieuts. C. L. O’Brien, R. A. Pelletier, 
and C. G. Power moved into the line to assist the 13th Battalion, which 
had suffered severely at The Bluff and required experienced officers 
to replace casualties, pending the arrival of reinforcements. 



On the night of Faster Sunday, April 23rd, the 14th Battalion 
relieved the 13th Battalion in The Bluff position to the left of the 
Ypres-Comines Canal. The Bluff itself, with a mine crater at its nose, 
was a long mound of earth thrown up on the north side of the Canal, 
which formed the Battalion’s right flank. From the Canal bank a 
small front line trench (New Year’s) ran up onto The Bluff. To the 
left were “ The Loop ”, “ International Trench ", “ The Pollock and 



1916 



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81 



“ The Bean ”, in which many brave men had died and which, in places, 
were almost obliterated by frequent bombardment. In these trenches 
the 13th Battalion had suffered 173 casualties in eight days. Truly 
the Salient differed from Messines. 

On April 24th, the first day in The Bluff positions, the 14th Bat- 
talion experienced comparative quiet, but on the 25th enemy snipers 
became active and Lieut. J. Howe and 2 other ranks were killed. On 
the following day an enemy mine was exploded some distance to the 
left, this starting a sharp duel between the opposing artilleries. April 
27th, according to the Battalion Diary, was a quiet ” day, but even 
a quiet day in the Salient saw some names added to the list of casu- 
alties. On this occasion 1 man was killed and 12 wounded, and on 
the following day, which was “ very quiet ”, 6 men were wounded. 
Six more were wounded on April 29th and on the 30th Lieut. G. K. 
Ross was killed by a rifle grenade. Altogether the casualties of the 
Battalion during the tour totalled 9 killed and 37 wounded. 

Handing over the line to the 7th Canadian Battalion on the night 
of May 1st, the Royal Montreal Regiment moved for eight days into 
Divisional Reserve, two days being spent at the Hop Factory, south 
of Poperinghe Station, and six in the Rue de Boeschepe. Muster and 
bathing parades were held on the 4th of the month and on the same 
date a party of 6 officers and 500 other ranks moved forward to work 
with the Engineers. Major-Gen. A. W. Currie inspected the unit on 
the following day and a Battalion church parade was held on May 
8th. this being followed by Battalion sports, which were witnessed by 
Lieut.-Gen. Sir E. A. H. Alderson, K.C.B., the Corps Commander. 
On the same date a draft of 80 reinforcements was received and Capt. 
F. W. Utton, previously with the 15th Battalion, became 14th Bat- 
talion Adjutant, succeeding Capt. E. A. Whitehead,, who became 
Signalling Officer. 

A feature of the time in Divisional Reserve occurred at evening in 
Poperinghe when the massed fife and drum bands of the resting bri- 
gade, Guards Division, beat “ Retreat ” in the town square. The 
medieval buildings of the square provided a romantic setting for this 
ceremony, which called to the minds of many present those British 
Armies of bygone days which had won undying fame on the historic 
fields of Flanders. Those men were born and bred within the confines 
of the British Isles. Now British fighting men from all corners of 
the earth stood in the old square and stiffened to salute as bands 
played that air which has become the anthem of an Empire. 



82 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



“ God save our gracious King, 

Long live our noble King, 

God save the King 

At night on May 9th the Royal Montreal Regiment left Divisional 
Reserve and moved forward to spend eight days in Brigade Support, 
with Battalion Headquarters at Swan Chateau. Each day a working 
party of approximately 5 officers and 400 other ranks was furnished 
to the Engineers, these parties suffering losses of 3 killed and several 
wounded. On the 14th of the month a draft of 89 other ranks was 
received; and on the 17th the Battalion relieved the 13th Battalion 
in Trenches 46-51, situated on the left of the 1st Divisional front on 
Mount Sorrel. 

In Trenches 46-51 the Battalion spent eight days, uneventful for 
the most part, but marked by those spasms of rifle, machine gun, 
trench mortar, and artillery fire which always featured a tour in the 
Salient. Working parties of several hundred men were furnished each 
night during the tour; and casualties totalled 36, 6 other ranks being 
killed and 30 wounded. On May 23rd a small reinforcing draft was 
taken on strength; and on the night of the 25th the Battalion was 
relieved by the 7th Canadian Battalion. On the afternoon preceding 
relief Battalion Headquarters was shelled with 5.9-inch high explosive, 
the Medical Officer’s dugout and dressing station being blown in and 
some supplies destroyed. Fortunately, there were no casualties. On 
relief the Battalion moved to Divisional Reserve in Dominion Lines, 
Lieut. C. G. Power, the Battalion Scout Officer, and a small squad of 
men being left behind to assist the 7th Battalion in a raid against 
some new German trenches. This raid was duly attempted, but the 
night selected was not dark, too many men, perhaps, were employed, 
and the Germans opened such heavy fire that success was out of the 
question. Accordingly, the raiders were recalled to the shelter of 
their own line. The new German trenches which the raid failed to 
penetrate were built, as is now clear, in preparation for the enemy 
attack launched some three weeks later. During the tour of the 14th 
Battalion in the front line they had been inspected by several Regi- 
mental patrols, Patrol Sergeant T. Hodgson on one occasion bringing 
back to the Canadian line a specimen of new type bath-mat flooring 
which a perspiring Hun had just placed in position. A mental picture 
of the German’s indignation when he staggered forward with a second 
section of bath-mat and missed the first caused no little delight in the 
Royal Montrealers’ trenches. 



1916 



BACK TO THE SALIENT 



83 



Meanwhile, at Dominion Lines, the 14th Battalion trained and 
furnished the working parties always expected from a unit in Divi- 
sional Reserve, the officers, when off duty, playing badminton, a game 
to which they were introduced through the enterprise of the Pay- 
master, Capt. F. B. D. Larken. Enterprise on the part of the Bat- 
talion Machine Gun Officer resulted in a kite, towed by a farmer’s 
cart, being used to train the machine gunners in anti-aircraft fire. 
Just as this practice was proving a success and as the inventor visu- 
alized his probable reward, “ cease fire ” was sounded on order of the 
Brigade Commander, who objected to bullets from the practice rain- 
ing. down in his garden. 

On the 28th of the month it was announced that Lieut. -Gen. Sir 
E. A. H. Alderson, K.C.B., had handed over command of the Canadian 
Corps to Lieut.-Gen. the Hon. Sir Julian Byng, K.C.B., M.V.O., a 
British officer of the 10th Royal Hussars, who had won distinction 
and promotion in the Sudan and South Africa and had added to an 
already enviable reputation while commanding the 3rd Cavalry Divi- 
sion of the “ Old Contemptibles ”. Subsequently Sir Julian Byng had 
served in Gallipoli, his experience and success warranting his promo- 
tion to command an Army Corps and assuring the men of the Corps 
selected that they would be led by a trained, energetic, and capable 
soldier. Five days after Sir Julian assumed command of the Canadian 
Corps its capabilities were tested to the utmost, the result being 
written on a splendid page of Canadian military history. The part 
taken by the 14th Battalion in writing that page is set down in the 
chapter which follows. 



CHAPTER VIII 



JUNE, 1916 

Before our eyes a Boundless wall of red 

Shot through by sudden streaks of jagged pain! 

Then a slow-gathering darkness overhead 
And rest came on us like a quiet rain. 

— John McCrab. 

I 

W HEN the Canadian Corps moved northward in the spring of 
1916, the 2nd Division, as has been mentioned, engaged 
almost at once in severe fighting near St. Eloi, and the 1st 
Division, following on the 2nd Division’s heels, also endured sharp 
bombardments and attacks soon after reaching the Salient. Violent 
as some of the bombardments in the spring were, they fade to insig- 
nificance when compared with the tornado of high explosive which at 
8 o’clock on the morning of June 2nd struck the lines of the 3rd Divi- 
sion, running from Bellewaarde Beck through Sanctuary Wood to Hill 
62, Hill 61, Armagh Wood, and Mount Sorrel. Under a concentration of 
shell fire such as no British troops had previously seen, the front line 
of the 3rd Division was blown out of existence, Major-Gen. Mercer, 
commanding the Division, being killed and Brig.-Gen. Victor Williams, 
of the 8th Brigade, wounded and taken prisoner. The 4th Canadian 
Mounted Rifles, who held the line in front of Armagh Wood, suffered 
626 casualties, and were practically annihilated; to the left the 1st 
Canadian Moulded Rifles lost their Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Col. 
A. E. Shaw, and suffered a casualty list of 367 ; still further to the 
left the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry lost 17 officers 
out of 22, Lieut.-Col. C. H. Buller being among the killed. Lieut.- 
Col. G. H. Baker, a member of the Canadian Parliament and Com- 
manding Officer of the 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles, was also killed, 
and the 42nd Battalion. Royal Highlanders of Canada, the 49th Bat- 
talion, Edmonton, the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles, the Royal Cana- 
dian Regiment (Permanent Force), and numerous other units lost 
heavily in the opening bombardment or in the fighting which took 
place soon thereafter. 

For five hours and forty-five minutes the Germans poured high 
explosives on the Canadian front line and support. Then, at 1.45 
p.m., their infantry advanced to the assault, meeting little opposition 



'///// /// ////< 




Yaros loco 



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in the ruined and devastated front line, but suffering a sharp check 
on penetrating to the support line in Sanctuary Wood. Armagh Wood, 
and Mount Sorrel. In the support line the fighting was bitter. 
Encouraged by the ease with which they had overcome the dazed and 
shell-shocked remnants of the front line companies, the Germans 
pressed eagerly forward, sweeping small Canadian parties out of 
their way and hurling their strength against the secondary defences, 
determined at all costs to clear the road to Ypres. But, as in 1915, 
the troops standing before Ypres had no intention of permitting a 
Teutonic triumph. Outnumbered, dazed by shell fire, and at a dis- 
advantage in every way, the supporting companies and battalions 
fought desperately and devotedly to prevent the enemy from pene- 
trating the reserve system and turning the flanks. That they alone 
stood between the Germans and Ypres inspired the broken units with 
courage beyond that of despair. In the hand to hand fighting officers 
used rifles, bayonets, or bombs and set a splendid example to the 
small groups of ever-willing men. Conversely, when' officers fell, the 
men fought on under an X.C.O., or even a private, regardless of the 
fact that death, wounds, or capture seemed their only possible reward. 

Late in the afternoon, when Major-General Mercer’s death was 
established, Major-General Hoare-Nairn, G.O.C.R.A. the Lahore 
Division, whose guns were covering the broken front, assumed com- 
mand of the 3rd Canadian Division. At this time the situation, though 
somewhat improved by stubborn resistance in the support lines and 
by local counter-attacks, was critical in the extreme. Another German 
attack, it seemed, could not fail to smash through the weakened 
defences, barring the way to Ypres. To prevent such a happening, 
which would have involved Imperial divisions on the flanks in dis- 
aster, a counter-attack was essential, and time was a factor of import- 
ance. Accordingly, peremptory orders were issued summoning from 
reserve such troops as could be rushed to the point of danger. 

11 

"W hen the German attack smashed through the lines of the 3rd 
Canadian Division early on the afternoon of June 2nd, 1916, the 14th 
Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, lay in rest at Dominion Lines, 
near Poperinghe, under Major Gault McCombe, who was commanding 
during the temporary absence of Lieut.-Col. R. P. Clark. Early in 
the day news of the intense bombardment was received, and several 
officers walked to high ground whence, far away in the Salient, a 



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THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



great cloud of dust and smoke indicated the scene of action. Soon 
after this party returned, the Battalion was ordered to “ stand to ”. 
Later orders to move forward were received and at 7.30 p.m. the. march 
began. 

Under command of Lieut. C. G. Power, Battalion Scouts and 
Intelligence men guided the companies and details to a rendezvous 
not far from Cafe Beige Corner. Speed was essential and the men 
marched steadily throughout the night, omitting the customary halts, 
but losing time none the less owing to congestion of traffic on the 
roads. Not far from the appointed rendezvous the Battalion was met 
by Staff Captain H. M. Urquhart, of the 3rd Brigade, and ordered to 
take up a position in battle formation with its left flank resting on 
Zillebeke Lake and the right flank on a point near Zillebeke Halte. 
Major McCombe was instructed to report to Brigade Headquarters 
in Railway Dugouts for further orders. 

In obedience to instructions, the companies and details of the 
1 4th Battalion moved independently across country to the locations 
assigned them. Different routes were chosen to avoid congestion and 
shell fire, No. 1 Coy., under Capt. R. W. Frost, reaching its destination 
about 1 o’clock on the morning of June 3rd and Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Com- 
panies, commanded respectively by Lieut. Dick Worrall, Capt. C. B. 
Price, D.C.M., and Lieut. W. E. Beaton, arriving in position not long 
after. Meanwhile the Machine Gun Section, commanded by Lieut. 
J. K. Nesbitt, had come forward from Cafe Beige independently. At 
Zillebeke Halte, Lieut. Nesbitt left two of his gun crews, under Corp. 
Fletcher, proceeding with Sergeant Lennan and the remaining four 
guns past Blauwe Poort Farm, where the dead of two batteries were 
strewn about, and on to a point where Major McCombe had estab- 
lished temporary Headquarters. From this point Lieut. Nesbitt led 
his men through Zillebeke Village and on up Observatory Ridge Road, 
skirting to the right when near Valley Cottages to take advantage of 
an area which afforded protection from enemy shell fire. Returning 
to the Road, Nesbitt’s section encountered a party of the enemy who 
retired and touched off an S.O.S. rocket, which brought a withering 
blast of gun fire. Sergt. Lennan, Corp. Sullivan, and four men were 
wounded by this fire and all the party badly shaken. Shortly after- 
wards the 15th and 14th Battalions moved into position on Nesbitt’s 
l ight, anil formed the first line to defend the gap opened by the enemy’s 
success at Mount Sorrel. 

Meanwhile, plans for an extensive counter-attack along the whole 
Canadian front were maturing. On the right the 7th Battalion, with 




hd Ji nk 



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JUNE 1916 



87 



the 10th in close support, was ordered to retake the ground from 
Mount Sorrel to Observatory Ridge. In the centre the 15th and 14th 
Battalions, supported respectively by the 16th and 13th, were in- 
structed to drive a counter-attack against Hill 62. On the left, and 
hot in immediate touch with these attacks, the 49th and 60th Bat- 
talions, with the 52nd in close support, were ordered to restore ihe 
front from Hill 62 to a point where the Royal Canadian Regiment 
still held original front line trenches near Hooge. 

V hen these counter-attacks were planned, 2 o'clock on the morn- 
ing of June 3rd was named as “ zero ”, but this allowed too short a 
time for the fresh battalions to come from reserve and deploy for 
action. Had it been possible to clear all roads and had the terrain for 
deployment been dry, the feat might have been accomplished. As 
it was, roads were congested with traffic, communication trenches in 
places were barely passable, and some units had to seek their jumping- 
off locations across marshy ground waist deep. Accordingly, “ zero ” 
was postponed once and again and confusion resulted, the 7th Bat- 
talion attacking at 7.37 a.m., the 14th at 8.17 a.m., the 15th at 8.35 
a.m., and the 49th and 60th on the left at 7 a.m. By arrangement, 
the Staff of the 3rd Canadian Division was to fire six green rockets 
as a signal for the attack to begin. This sign would have been effec- 
tive at 2 a.m.; at 7.10 a.m., when it was fired, day had broken and 
the green lights were almost invisible. Even when seen, the signal was 
recognized with difficulty, as rain had spoiled some rockets, and four- 
teen were ignited before six could be made to rise into the air. Six 
rockets at regular intervals constitute a signal; six rising irregularly 
leave just that element of doubt which in an attack is often the genesis 
of failure. 

When Major McCombe returned from Brigade Headquarters in 
Railway Dugouts, he brought instructions for the Battalion to advance 
to a position in front of Zillebeke Village, the right flank of the Bat- 
talion to rest upon Observatory Ridge Road and the left flank on 
Maple (. opse. In obedience to these orders the companies of the 14th 
moved independently forward through Zillebeke Village, with the 
Battalion Bombers, under Lieut;. F. Owen, marching on the left. 

Almost at once the advance of the Battalion encountered shell fire. 
Men began to drop in Zillebeke Village and casualties mounted as this 
point was passed. In front of the village Capt, R. W. Frost was 
blown into the air by shell fire, command of No. 1 Coy. passing tem- 
porarily to Lieut. W. R. B. Lugar, who showed judgment in recon- 
noitring his front and spreading his troops to fill a gap which had 



88 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



opened on his flank. Later Capt. Frost, who had resumed command 
of the company, was again hurled to the ground and partially buried 
by the burst of a shell, but for the second time he regained his feet 
and insisted that he was fit to “ carry on At about 6 a.m. the Bat- 
talion reached the position whence it was to “ jump off ” for the final 
assault on Hill 62. Shell fire continued while the men dug in, Capt. 
C. B. Price, D.C.M., suffering his second severe wound of the war and 
Lieut. W. R. B. Lugar losing a leg through the same shell. Lieut. V. 
G. Rexford, who had served in the ranks and been granted a com- 
mission after recovering from injuries received in the Second Battle 
of Ypres, was also wounded at this time, as were a number of other 
ranks. 

At 8.17 a.m. orders were received to advance and at once, under 
immediate command of Major A. T. Powell, the whole Battalion 
swept forward. Speaking of the advance, an officer of the 3rd Brigade 
Staff says, “ It was one of the finest things I have ever seen. One 
hears occasionally of troops advancing ‘ as if on parade ’. There was 
no question of this being a parade. Under the leadership of Major 
Powell, the old 14th advanced coolly, steadily, and splendidly. The 
lines were torn and bent by shell, rifle, and machine gun fire, but there 
was no faltering. When the front line was staggered and withered 
by fire, there always seemed someone to step into the gaps ”. 

Truly the gaps were filled; but sooner or later under fire such as the 
Germans concentrated on the advancing lines an attack must vanish 
into thin- air, or dig in. Reluctantly, having lost two-thirds of his 
strength, Major Powell realized that such a moment had come. His 
men had marched all night, had deployed over unfavourable ground, 
had advanced under shell fire severe enough to shake the strongest 
morale, had dug in unshaken, and had then advanced for three hun- 
dred yards in broad daylight, under fire which had tom their lines to 
ribbons. Those who remained were undaunted; but the Battalion’s 
strength had gone. Accordingly, orders were issued for the line to 
dig in. When this was accomplished the Regiment, under severe fire 
of all descriptions, held the front until relieved on the following morn- 
ing, the firing line being manned by approximately 80 men, who, with 
the details and small parties operating on the flanks, represented what 
was left of the Battalion. No one can claim that the attack was an 
entire success, as it failed to attain its topographical objectives. Inas- 
much, however, as it closed a dangerous gap in the secondary system 
of the Ypres defences and provided jumping-off positions for the 
great counter-attack of June 13th, it cannot be regarded as a failure. 



1916 



JUNE 191 G 



89 



Elsewhere on the front the result was the same, the assigned objec- 
tives proving beyond the power of flesh and blood to attain, but dis- 
cipline and marked courage carrying the attacking battalions well 
forward. 

For some time during the progress of the attack and while the 
men were digging in, Major McCombe, who at first established Head- 
quarters in a cellar at Valley Cottages, was unable to keep in touch 
with his forward companies, but later, when this condition had been 
corrected, his grasp of the situation proved his ability to command 
under exceedingly difficult circumstances. A tribute to his work 
exists in a letter from an officer of the Battalion to a brother officer 
in hospital. The tribute is short, but complete: “Gault McCombe 

handled the situation splendidly 

After the line advanced Capt. Utton and Capt. E. A. Whitehead 
carried out a reconnaissance and, following their report, Headquarters 
was moved to a dugout under the crest of Observatory Ridge. Between 
this dugout and the front line the Signallers, under Sergt. A. Close, 
established and maintained communication, their work being of the 
finest character. It is a principle of military operations that routine 
must continue under the most difficult circumstances, this probably 
accounting for the fact that on June 3rd a runner, who had made his 
way through the enemy barrage, arrived grimy and exhausted at 14th 
Battalion Headquarters with a message from London asking how many 
members of the Battalion had subscribed for War Loan. 

Ill 

The story of the advance and check of the 14th Battalion, Royal 
Montreal Regiment, has been outlined in the preceding pages, but no 
account of the unit’s work on June 3rd would be complete without 
mention of the gallantry and splendid behaviour of certain details and 
isolated parties. On the extreme left of the attack Lieut. W. E. Beaton, 
commanding No. 4 Company, advanced with 35 men, encountering the 
enemy far in advance of the front line at a point near Hedge Street. 
At about 9 a.m. Lieut. Beaton, finding himself cut off from the main 
body of the Battalion -and coming under enfilade fire from a machine 
gun, halted the eager advance of his little company, faced his men 
left to meet a threatened flank attack, posted sentries to guard against 
surprise, and sent out patrols to maintain touch with the enemy. All 
day, though wounded in the shoulder by a splinter of shell, he remained 
at duty, encouraging his men and setting a splendid example of level- 



90 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1910 



headedness and courage. At night the enemy concentrated gun and 
trench mortar fire on the position, rendering it quite untenable, where- 
upon Lieut. Beaton, taking advantage of the darkness, disengaged his 
contact patrols and successfully led the living remnant of his party 
back to safety in the Battalion lines. During the whole of this little 
feat of arms, Beaton received much assistance from Sergt. H. Hunt, 
of No. 2 Coy., who, when all officers of the company had fallen, had 
led the remaining men forward. Sergt. Hunt, throughout the day, 
showed great courage in leaving shelter to recover disabled men, or 
dress their wounds. Unfortunately, before nightfall, he was killed by 
an enemy trench mortar. 

Equally gallant, but less fortunate than Lieut. Beaton, was Lieut. 
A. F. Major, who with a small party penetrated even further into the 
German lines. The full story of this little party can never be told, 
though it is established that its members fell fighting at some point 
far back of the German front. At another point on the left flank 
Sergeant B. Topham, of No. 3 Coy., led a party of 14 men and estab- 
lished contact with the enemy at a point near Durham Lane. When 
his advance was checked, Topham took up a position and for the whole 
day defied the enemy’s efforts to eject him. Casualties he could not 
avoid; and gradually his little party dwindled. At night, together 
with some two or three survivors, he retired on the main body of the 
Battalion. 

When the advance from in front of Zillebeke Village began, the 
Battalion Bombers, under Lieut. F. Owen, moved forward on the left 
flank. Proceeding up Durham Lane until they encountered a block, 
the Bombers moved out into the open, crawled from shell hole to shell 
hole, kept pace with the Battalion, and dug in on the same line. Dur- 
ing the advance the detail lost Lieut, Owen, who was wounded by 
shell fire. 

Covering the advance from positions previously taken up, teams 
of the Machine Gun Section, under Lieut. J. I\. Nesbitt, accomplished 
excellent work. When their covering fire was no longer of value, they 
advanced with the Battalion, suffering heavy losses. One team, 
though reduced from 6 men to 2, kept its gun in action until relieved 
that night. At another spot Private Imray retrieved a gun which had 
been blown up, carried it forward, found ammunition to feed it, set 
it up unaided, and kept it in action throughout the day. At the height 
of the engagement Sergt, Bagnall returned from leave and brought 
forward the two guns which had been left at Zillebeke Halte the night 
before. He established a position in Maple Copse and reported to 



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JUNE 1916 



91 



Lieut. Nesbitt for further orders. While conferring with his officer 
B agnail was seriously wounded by the burst of a shell, Lieut. Nesbitt 
escaping severe injury but being knocked over and dazed by con- 
cussion. Recovering, Nesbitt reported to Battalion Headquarters and 
guided stretcher bearers to Bagnall’s assistance. It is worthy of note 
that these bearers, though in view of the enemy for some time, were 
quite unmolested. 

Amongst the companies and Battalion details every officer who 
took part in the attack was killed, wounded, or blown up by shell fire. 
Capt. E. A. Whitehead, who had been wounded at the Second Battle 
of Ypres and, after rejoining, had for months served as Adjutant, 
acted as Signalling Officer during the early morning hours and then 
asked to be sent to the main body of the Battalion. Major MeCombe 
was reluctant; but realizing how valuable Whitehead’s presence might 
prove, he finally gave assent. A few minutes later news reached him 
that Whitehead had been killed while hurrying forward. Lieut, M. M. 
Grondin was also killed and Lieut. A. F. Major died after penetrating 
the German lines, as previously mentioned. Major Powell, though 
wounded, remained at duty until the new line- was established, and 
then handed over the forward area to Lieut. R. A. Pelletier, who, 
though twice blown up and once rendered unconscious for a time, 
commanded until the Battalion was relieved. Lieut. J. E. McKenna 
was wounded in the hand, but did not leave his post; other casualties 
not previously mentioned including Lieuts. Dick Worrall, T. A. Evans, 
R. D. Torrance, R. C. MacKenzie, R. H. Walker, R. G. Marion, and 
C. L. O’Brien, the first, and the last two, original members of the 
Regiment who had been commissioned from the ranks. 

Amongst the other ranks losses were severe. Company Sergeant- 
Major R. W. Rankin, of No. 1 Coy., was killed while trying to pene- 
trate the German wire; Coy. Sergt. -Major G. Armstrong, of No. 3 
Coy., was also killed during the attack, as was Coy. Sergt.-Major L. 
Duhamel, of No. 4 Coy. Many other valuable N.C.O’s. were killed 
or wounded before the Battalion was relieved, the day’s work costing 
the Regiment a total of 379 all ranks, killed, wounded and missing. 

All during the attack the Battalion Medical Officer, Capt. W. J. 
McAlister, and the stretcher bearers under his command worked tire- 
lessly to collect and evacuate the stream of wounded, much assistance 
being rendered by the Battalion Scouts and Intelligence men, under 
Lieut. C. G. Power, who, having guided the Regiment into the line, 
were ordered to Valley Farm. There they constructed a Regimental 
Aid Post. Later they advanced behind the Battalion, gathering valu- 



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THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



able information and rescuing numerous wounded. When the aid 
post at V alley Cottages was rendered untenable by shell fire, they 
assisted Capt. McAlister in moving to a new post in Railway Dug- 
outs. Throughout the whole engagement Lieut. Rower set an example 
of high courage and displayed initiative in carrying out the varied 
duties falling to his lot. 



IV 

Early on the morning of June 4th the Royal Montreal Regiment 
was relieved from the front line by the 2nd Canadian Battalion and 
withdrew to Dominion Lines, moving to Patricia Lines on the after- 
noon of June 5th. While retiring through Zillebeke Village Capt. R. 
W. Frost, for the third time in 24 hours, was blown to the ground by 
a shell. Too dazed to walk, he was carried to Railway Dugouts, 
where he recovered and whence, on the following morning, he hastened 
to duty with the Battalion. He reported and expected to take over 
his company without delay, but, in view of the severe battering he 
had received, the Commanding Officer of the 14th ordered him tem- 
porarily to the Canadian rest station at Mont des Cats. 

While marching back on the morning of June 4th the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment, on the Ypres-Vlamertinghe Road, reached the transport 
lines of an Imperial artillery unit, the men of which had just prepared m 
breakfast. With that quick sympathy for those who have been “ in 
it ”, the Imperials called to the Royal Montrealers to come and help 
themselves, thus earning the gratitude of a Canadian Regiment. In 
the haste incidental to times of war no formal acknowledgment of the 
courtesy was given, or expected. Eleven years have passed, but the 
kindness has not been forgotten. Such incidents provide cement with 
which are bound the enduring walls of Empire. 

On arrival at Dominion Lines Capt. F. W. Utton, without delaying 
for food or sleep, began preparation of those lists which it is the duty 
of the Adjutant to produce following a great battle. To assist in 
obtaining accurate information on w T hich to base these, Lieut.-Col. 
Clark, who had returned from leave, called for volunteers to proceed 
to the scene of the attack on June 3rd and search the torn ground for 
wounded. Lieut. Beaton, Lieut. Nesbitt, and 50 other ranks responded 
to this appeal and moved off after the briefest possible rest. Pushing 
into all sorts of dangerous corners, this party rescued a number of 
wounded and buried many dead, among the latter being Corp. Scott, 
to whom a Military Medal had been awarded on the day of the attack. 



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JUNE 1916 



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Throughout the search for wounded and the recovery of the bodies 
of the dead, Pioneer Sergt. Brayton accomplished valuable work which 
won recognition by award of the D.C.M. Unfortunately, 3 other 
ranks of the party were killed before the search came to an end. 

On June 6th Private H. A. Davin was granted a commission and 
20 other ranks were taken on strength from England, 150 other ranks 
following on June 7th, 15 on June 10th, and 308 on June 11th. On 
the 9th of the month Major-General A. W. Currie, C.B., commanding 
the 1st Canadian Division, visited the Battalion and addressed the 
men, a similar visit being paid on June 10th by Brig.-Gen. G. S. 
Tuxford, C.M.G., commanding the 3rd Brigade. Between the 6th and 
12th of the month the Battalion equipped and reorganized and 
absorbed the men of the new drafts. At 5 p.m. on the 12th the unit 
moved from Dominion Lines to “ D ” Camp on the Vlamertinghe- 
Ouderdom Road, a party, under Capt. F. B. D. Larken, Battalion 
Paymaster, meeting the Regiment near its destination and directing 
the companies and details to billets. Hot tea, served on arrival, helped 
the men to forget the unpleasantness of a march in heavy rain. 

At 1.30 a.m. on June 13th, Sir Julian Byng launched the 1st Cana- 
dian Division, under Major-General A. W. Currie, against the posi- 
tions taken up by the Germans after the operations of June 2nd and 
3rd. For the occasion the brigades of the Division were reconstructed, 
Brig.-Gen. Lipsett, on the right, commanding a brigade composed of 
the 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 8th Battalions, and Brig.-Gen. Tuxford’s brigade 
on the left, being made up of the 2nd, 4th, 13th, and 16th Battalions. 
In reserve lay Brig.-Gen. Hughes, with a force composed of the 5th, 
10th, 14th, and 15th Battalions. The actual assault was delivered by 
three battalions, the 3rd Battalion on the left, the 16th Battalion, 
Canadian Scottish, in the centre, and the 13th Battalion, Royal High- 
landers of Canada, on the right. Roughly, these battalions had as 
their respective objectives Mount Sorrel, Hill 62, and the position to 
the north of Hill 62. Guns of all calibres were concentrated to sup- 
port the attack, and on the flanks demonstrations and feint attacks 
were employed to mask the actual location of the assault. 

The 14th Battalion was “ in reserve ” during the successful counter- 
attack on June 13th, but it must not be inferred that the men lay 
idle. On the contrary, parties moved forward at intervals after June 
7th, and worked in every conceivable manner to assist the troops 
chosen for the assault. Previous to, and during, the attack the 14th 
Battalion furnished the following parties: — 



94 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



Party “ A ” — 2 officers and 158 other ranks. This party 
carried material and worked in the captured front line, dig- 
ging trenches to link up the flanks of the 13th and 16th Bat- 
talions. Lieut. H. A. Davin, who had been commissioned a 
few days previously, was in command and was killed, together 
with 15 of his men. Lieut. W. A. Bonshor, who had w r on the 
D.C.M. while serving as Regimental Sergeant-Major, was 
wounded, as were 13 other ranks. Twenty-one other ranks 
were blown up by shell fire, or picked off by enemy sharp- 
shooters, the names of these men, pending definite informa- 
tion as to their fate, being added to the Battalion’s roll of 
missing, presumed killed. 

Party “ B ” — 1 officer and 38 other ranks. This party, 
under command of Lieut. H. E. Banks, carried small arm 
ammunition to the front line and supports. In passing 
through the enemy barrage one man was killed and one 
wounded. Three others failed to report and were, presum- 
ably, killed by shell fire. 

Party “ C ” — 54 other ranks. This party carried bombs 
from Brigade Reserve to the front line and supports. It 
suffered 7 casualties, 2 men being killed, 2 wounded, and 3 
listed as missing. 

Party “ D ” — 42 other ranks. This party advanced with 
the attacking waves, attending to casualties and carrying 
stretcher cases to the dressing station. One man of the party 
was killed and another lost in the barrage. 

Party “ E ” — 2 officers and 108 other ranks. This party 
carried ammunition and bombs. It also carried rations to 
the 13th and 16th Battalions. One man was wounded. 

Party “ F ” — 17 other ranks. This party, though employed 
on dangerous work, i.e. wiring, under the supervision of the 
Engineers, was fortunate in coming through without losses. 

Party “ G ” — 21 other ranks, who served as Battle Stops 
at specified points. No casualties. 

Party “ IT ” — 2 officers and 108 other ranks. This party 
carried wire and entrenching material. One of its members 
was missing when the roll was called, and 2 were reported 
wounded. 

To express appreciation of the work accomplished by the Royal 
Montreal stretcher bearers, Lieut.-Col. \ . C. Buchanan, D.S.O., Com- 




EXTENDING l NDKK ( iKHMAN I, INI 



1916 



JUNE 1916 



95 



mantling Officer of the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 
wrote to Lieut. -Col. Clark as follows: — 

Dear Clark: — 

I want to thank you most sincerely for allowing your Stretcher 
Bearers to come up with the 13th in the recent show. 

The men did their work splendidly and were the means of saving 
many of our men’s lives. 

They certainly did well and showed great heroism in the way 
they tended the wounded although exposed to heavy fire. 

You will please express to these men the deep appreciation of 
the 13th for the excellent work they did. 

I regret the casualties you have suffered and the lives lost. 

Yours sincerely, 

Victor C. Buchanan. 

Lieut.-Col. J. E. Leckie, Commanding Officer of the 16th Battalion, 
Canadian Scottish, wrote in similar terms, and Major-General R. E. 
W. Turner, V.C., C.B., D.S.O., sent a note from Headquarters of the 
2nd Canadian Division to congratulate the 14th on “ the splendid 
work lately carried out ”. 

At 7 p.m. on June 14th the Royal Montreal Regiment moved for- 
ward from Brigade Reserve into Brigade Support, Headquarters being 
established at Swan Chateau and the companies located three in the 
grounds of Chateau Seagard and one at Moated Farm. Here the Bat- 
talion remained for five days, providing working parties and training 
the recently joined drafts in the details of trench routine. Following 
the period in Brigade Support, the Battalion moved by bus to Kenora 
Camp, there to spend four days in Divisional Reserve. 

On the night of June 24th the Battalion advanced to relieve the 
4th Canadian Battalion in the front line, guides meeting the men at 
Zillebeke Halte and leading them into Trenches 45-52. Simultane- 
ously, the 13th Battalion relieved the 7th Battalion in Trenches 53-58 
on the left flank. When relief of the 4th Battalion was complete, No. 
1 Coy. of the 14th occupied front line trenches on the right, No. 2 Coy. 
held the left front, No. 3 Coy. held trenches near Square Wood, and 
No. 4 Coy. was held in support near Battalion Headquarters at Bat- 
tersea Farm. 

The whole area taken over on this occasion bore evidences of the 
fierce fighting which had swept over it earlier in the month. The 
front line was in fairly good condition, but all communication trenches 
were badly damaged and, in some cases, obliterated. Approach to the 
line, therefore, had to be made across the open and precaution taken 
to avoid losses. In the operation order covering the relief officers 
were warned against careless conversation over the trench system of 



96 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



telephones, as the enemy was thought to possess efficient “ listening 
sets.” Accordingly, the Adjutant ordered that all important messages 
be delivered by runner and, to deceive listeners when less important 
matters were discussed, officers were instructed to address Battalion 
Headquarters as “Jack”. 

Before taking over the front, the 14th Battalion received a draft 
of officers from England. Amongst those receiving commissions just 
previously were Frank Higginson, A. L. McLean, D.C.M., J. W. Green, 
R. H. Hood, C. H. Sullivan, and W. Sharp. During the tour which 
began on June 24th the Battalion was commanded as follows: — 

Headquarters: — Lieut.-Col. R. P. Clark, M.C., Major 
Gault McCombe, Capt. J. W. McAlister (Medical Officer), 
Capt. F. W. Utton (Adjutant), and Lieut. A. Plow (Assist- 
ant Adjutant) . 

Details: — Lieuts. J. K. Nesbitt, S. S. Jones, and A. L. 
McLean. 

No. 1 Coy.: — Capt. J. C. K. Carson, Lieut. J. E. McKenna, 
Lieut. W. W. Pickup, and Lieut. G. B. Murray. 

No. 2 Coy.: — Capt. G. E. Leighton, Capt. J. F. Adams, 
Lieut. D. J. Evans, and Lieut. C. H. Sullivan. 

No. 3 Coy.: — Lieut. C. G. Power, Lieut. R. H. Hood, 
Lieut. C. H. Sclater, and Lieut. J. Mills. 

No. 4 Coy.: — Lieut. W. E. Beaton, Lieut. R. A. Pelletier, 
Lieut. 0. J. Larzen, and Lieut. E. M. Hyman. 

The tour in Trenches 45-52 lasted five days and was by no means 
uneventful. British aircraft were active on June 25th and artillery 
on both sides fired at intervals. A gas warning was sounded on the 
morning of the 26th, the Battalion remaining on the alert until even- 
ing, when a change in the wind rendered the danger of gas remote. 
Twelve casualties occurred during the day, 3 men being killed, 5 
severely shocked by bursting shells, and 4 wounded. 

At 4 o’clock on the morning of June 27th the enemy opened a 
heavy “ shoot ” along the Canadian front, using artillery, trench mor- 
tars, rifle grenades, machine guns, and bombs. To the left several 
enemy attacks moved forward against the 13th Battalion, one of these 
being seen by Lieut. J. K. Nesbitt, of the 14th Battalion Machine Gun 
Section, who brought a gun into action against it and helped the Royal 
Highlanders to administer a sharp check. Further assistance was 
rendered by a platoon of No. 2 Coy., 14th Battalion, which co-oper- 
ated with the 13th in holding the front until reinforcements arrived. 



19 1 G 



JUNE 1916 



97 



None of the attacks succeeded in penetrating the Highlanders’ front, 
though one reached a 13th Battalion post in a trench sap. Strong 
forces of the enemy stood ready to move forward if the attacks of the 
battle patrols proved successful, but withdrew when the patrols failed 
to effect a lodgement in the Canadian lines. During the action the 
work of Signalling Sergt. A. Close, of the Royal Montreal Regiment, 
was most efficient. Working under heavy fire, he maintained com- 
munication between Battalion Headquarters and the front line, his 
courage and marked determination being recognized at a later date 
by award of the D.C.M. 

At 5.15 a.m. the German bombardment ceased and the Royal 
Montrealers examined their damaged position. Several trenches had 
been destroyed, but more serious was a casualty list which totalled 
29, Lieut. J. Mills and 16 other ranks having been killed, and 12 other 
ranks wounded. Additional casualties occurred on the following day, 
as a result of continued shell fire. No concentrated tornado of shelling 
swept out of the sky on this date, but high explosive burst in the lines 
at intervals, 4 men being killed and Capt. R. W. Frost severely injured 
by concussion. 

Artillery activity again prevailed on June 29th, both sides ham- 
mering away hour after hour in one of the numberless duels familiar 
to those who knew life in the Salient. The trenches of the 14th, how- 
ever, came in for little attention and the Battalion, accordingly, was 
in good condition when relieved at night by the 8th Canadian Bat- 
talion. Following relief, the 14th moved back to Brigade Reserve in 
Dominion Lines. So ended June, 1916, during which the Battalion 
suffered over 500 casualties, including a large proportion of officers 
and N.C.O’s. In spite of these losses a confident Battalion faced the 
fighting which inevitably lay ahead, the reinforcing drafts acquiring 
rapidly the pride of Regiment which had so noticeably animated the 
fallen. 



CHAPTER IX 



FROM THE SALIENT TO THE SOMME 

AJ1 night the tall trees overhead 
Are whispering to the stars; 

Their roots are wrapped about the dead 
And hide the hideous sears. 

The tide of war goes rolling by, 

The legions sweep along; 

And daily in the summer sky 
The birds will sing their song. 

— Frederick George Scott. 

I 

F OLLOWING the series of trench tours in the Ypres Salient in 
June, 1916, the 14th Battalion spent ten days in Brigade and 
Divisional Reserve, five days at Dominion Lines and an equal 
time at Patricia Lines. Then followed another series of tours in the 
Salient, these being completed on August 9th and the Regiment there- 
after marching to a special area to train for participation in the 
Battles of the Somme. 

All unconscious of what lay before them, the Royal Montrealers 
trained at Dominion Lines and Patricia Lines during the early days 
of July. Recognizing that a smart appearance helps to maintain 
morale, particularly after a month such as the Battalion had just 
experienced, Capt. Utton ordered company commanders and officers 
commanding details to pay strict attention to the neatness of their 
men. As a result of these orders and of the co-operation which the 
men extended, the Battalion, when it marched from Dominion to 
Patricia Lines, presented an appearance leaving little to be desired. 
At Patricia Lines the Regiment was visited by Major-Gen. A. W. 
Currie, C.B., G.O.C. the 1st Canadian Division; and was reinforced 
by several officers from England. Among the reinforcements were 
Lieuts. M. C. W. Copeland, J. F. Fitzpatrick, and G. L. Stairs, the 
last an original officer of the Battalion who had served for eight 
months in France during the previous year. Lieut. Fitzpatrick had 
also seen service in France, having been commissioned from the ranks 
of the 3rd Canadian Battalion. 

At 8 p.m. on July 9th the Royal Montreal Regiment paraded at 
Patricia Lines and marched to Poperinghc Railway Station, entrain- 
ing there for railhead, whence guides of the 28th Canadian Battalion 



1916 



FROM THE SALIENT TO THE SOMME 



99 



led the companies and details into Trenches 33 to 38, between the 
Bluff and the Railway Cutting. In these positions, with Battalion 
Headquarters at Grand Fleet Street, the unit remained for five days. 
On July 10th some shelling and rifle fire resulted in the wounding of 
Capt. D. J. Evans and 9 other ranks, and on the following night rifle 
grenadiers, snipers, and machine gunners all took part in a stirring 
duel. On this date the 14th Battalion sent one man to Paris to repre- 
sent the Regiment at a review of Allied troops on the French national 
holiday, July 14th. 

Rifle grenade activity continued on July 12th, also on the morning 
of the 13th, when trench mortars on both sides joined in. This activ- 
ity died down during the afternoon and was succeeded by desultory 
shell fire. As a result of the various bombardments, the Battalion 
suffered 12 casualties, Lieut. E. A. Adams, Lieut. W. W. Pickup, and 
7 other ranks being wounded, and 3 other ranks killed. On July 14th 
the Battalion furnished working parties, totalling 3 officers and 323 
other ranks, and at night handed over the front to the 13th Battalion. 

On relief by the Royal Highlanders the 14th Battalion moved back 
to spend five days in Brigade Support, with Headquarters at Railway 
Dugouts and the companies billeted respectively at Canal Dugouts, 
Battersea Farm, Woodcote House, and Sunken Road. From these 
positions working parties nearly 500 strong were supplied each day, 
fine weather rendering these a shade less unpopular than usual. From 
Brigade Support the Battalion moved back on July 19th to occupy 
Dickebusch Huts in Brigade Reserve. Working parties continued in 
demand, but were smaller than those furnished from Brigade Support. 
On July 21st the Divisional Gas Officer visited the Battalion and 
inspected all gas equipment, following which Lieut. Betts, of the 
Headquarters Gymnastic Staff, lectured to officers and men on “ Use 
of the Bayonet”. On July 22nd Major Mills, of the Royal Flying 
Corps, lectured at Connaught Lines on “Aeroplane Observation ”, a 
group of officers and other ranks from the 14th Battalion attending, 
and on the 24th Lieut. -Col. R. H. Kearsley, D.S.O., addressed the 
commissioned ranks of the Battalion on “ Responsibilities and Duties 
of Officers ”. 

On July 23rd all ranks of the Battalion heard with pleasure that, 
for splendid work on June 3rd, Lieut. W. E. Beaton had been awarded 
the Military Cross. For his devotion to duty in caring for the wound- 
ed, a similar honour had been awarded to the Battalion Medical Offi- 
cer, Capt. W. J. McAlister. This award came just as Capt. McAlister’s 



100 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



tour of duty with the Battalion ended. On July 24th his position was 
taken over by Capt. C. E. Anderson. 

Two days after Capt. McAlister’s departure the 14th Battalion 
played the 10th Canadian Field Ambulance at football, the game being 
followed on July 27th by a sports day with the bands of the 2nd 
Brigade and the 15th Battalion in attendance. On July 28th bathing 
parades were held, and on the 29th the Battalion paraded in full 
marching order for inspection by Lieut.-Col. R. H. Kearsley, D.S.O. 
Divine Service was held on the morning of July 30th, the remainder 
of the day being given to the men to rest and prepare for another tour 
in the line. On the night of July 31st the Battalion moved forward to 
relieve the 3rd Canadian Battalion in Trenches 33 to 38, the same 
trenches in the Verbrandenmolen Sector as had been occupied earlier 
in the month. 

At 2.45 a.m. on August 1st the 14th Battalion completed relief of 
the 3rd Battalion, Headquarters, as during the previous tour, being at 
Grand Fleet Street. Working parties, under Lieut. Jull, effected gen- 
eral repairs to the front, support, and reserve lines during the tour that 
followed. A new battalion headquarters was constructed, dugouts 
were built in the reserve line, and wire was laid to protect Verbranden- 
molen Trench. On four days 410 men were assigned to these tasks, 
395 being furnished on August 5th, and 243 on August 6th. On the 
whole the Germans were inactive. Trench mortar and artillery shell- 
ing took place on August 2nd, and on the 5th the left front was sharply 
bombarded with minenwerfers and whizz-bangs, but for the most part 
the days were marked only by that amount of shelling, bombing, and 
machine gun fire, which, in the Salient, was regarded as “ normal 

An idea of the work accomplished during a “ normal ” Salient tour 
can be gained from the reports of Lieut. A. L. McLean, Battalion 
Intelligence Officer, on the period now under review. Working parties 
have been mentioned and a few words given to the attitude of the 
enemy, but little has been said of the details of routine. On August 
1st the weather was foggy until 9.30 a.m. and so warm thereafter that 
heat waves prevented accurate observation, nevertheless snipers smash- 
ed five enemy periscopes, and the movements of an enemy balloon 
were carefully noted. A Stokes gun in the Battalion trenches threw 
8 shells across No Man’s Land, where at night a patrol found all quiet. 

Observation was simpler on the following day, when 44 of the 
enemy in service uniform and wearing service cap, and one man with 
no cap, were seen passing a certain point. Forty-two rifle grenades 
were fired by men of the 14th during the 24 hours and a machine gun, 



1916 FROM THE SALIENT TO THE SOMME 



101 



located in Grand Fleet Street, fired at frequent intervals. Other 
machine guns treated the enemy parapets to occasional bursts of fire, 
and the Battalion snipers, in the absence of more attractive targets, 
smashed a number of enemy periscopes. At night a patrol of the 14th 
explored an old crater in No Man’s Land; and a fixed battery of G 
rifles was trained on the spot where the 44 Germans had passed during 
the day. This battery was fired at intervals in the hope of causing 
losses. 

On August 3rd the machine gun in Grand Fleet Street continued to 
annoy the enemy, other machine guns at night dispersing a German 
working party opposite Trench 36. Ninety rifle grenades were fired 
during the day ; a small trench mortar fired 12 rounds, and the Stokes 
guns fired 53. Snipers smashed their usual quota of periscopes, and 
at night a patrol covered the ground in front of Trench 33 to within 
15 yards of the German wire. In front of Trench 35 enemy wire was 
also examined, a subsequent report stating that it was in excellent 
condition and of the type known as “ concertina barbed ”. 

“ Nervous ”, is the word applied to the attitude of the enemy on 
August 4th. Perhaps the anniversary stirred the Empire forces to 
unwonted activity and chilled the German heart with forebodings of 
inevitable doom. Be that as it may, the men of the 14th fired 190 
rifle grenades to celebrate the occasion; the Stokes guns banged off 
275 vindictive rounds; the 2-inch Trench Mortar loosed 99 shells filled 
with high explosive; and the snipers smashed 19 enemy periscopes. To 
finish the day, a 14th Battalion sergeant led a patrol of 3 men to a 
shell hole in front of Trench 33, whence an underground sap ran into 
the German line. Apparently the curiosity of this small party irri- 
tated the Hun, for suddenly a flare was thrown and simultaneously 
several of the enemy attacked with the bayonet. Three of the attack- 
ers were promptly shot, the sergeant and one of his party thereupon 
advancing and emptying their revolvers into a party of Germans 
crowding the sap. Groans followed, but all the garrison were not 
injured, for several emerged from the sap and threw bombs. No harm 
resulted, for by this time the Royal Montreal patrol had retired 
towards safety in the Canadian lines. With praiseworthy calmness, 
the sergeant and his three men had, during the whole encounter, 
expended just 18 rounds of ammunition. 

British artillery pounded the enemy on August 5th, the 14th Bat- 
talion assisting in the good work by firing 104 rifle grenades and 41 
rounds from Stokes guns. In addition, the machine gun in Grand 
Fleet Street so annoyed the Hun that he sought to silence it with a 



102 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



dozen rounds of shell fire. Other machine guns fired where enemy 
parties were thought to be located; and the Battalion snipers drove a 
working party to cover. On the following day a German sniper was 
killed, two small working parties were dispersed, and a patrol at night 
reported on the condition of the German wire. Observation was good 
during the day, and enemy trench repairs were noted; also the fact 
that at 3.20 p.m. a pigeon flew from back of the Canadian front to 
some point far behind the German line. At 8.25 p.m. a large party 
of Germans, their heads and rifles visible, passed a point well back of 
the line. A 14th Battalion fixed rifle battery opened fire, but results 
could not be established. 

Though the tour from July 31st to August 6th was considered 
“ quiet ”, the Battalion did not escape losses. Capt. J. F. Adams, an 
original officer, who some time previously had returned to Regimental 
duty after six months’ absence, was wounded and Lieut. W. L. McCor- 
mack was evacuated suffering from concussion. Later in the tour 
Lieut. R. LI. Hood was wounded, and amongst the other ranks casual- 
lies totalled 56, 7 men being killed and 49 wounded. 

II 

When the 7th Canadian Battalion took over the line on the night 
of August 6th, or rather at 3 a.m. on August 7th, the Royal Montreal 
Regiment moved back into familiar territory, Headquarters billeting 
at Swan Chateau, together with half of No. 1 Coy. and half of the 
Regimental Details. The remaining half of No. 1 Coy., plus Nos. 2 
and 3 Companies, occupied the neighbourhood of Chateau Segard, and 
No. 4 Coy. was situated at Moated Farm. From these positions a 
working party of 6 officers and 370 other ranks moved forward on 
August 7th to bury cable under supervision of the Engineers, a similar 
party being supplied on August 8th. On this date the Battalion 
“ stood to ” during a bombardment and gas attack on troops to the 
Canadian left. No details of the attack were obtainable at the time 
and after a few hours the unit was ordered to “ stand down . On the 
following day artillery on both sides was active, the enemy shelling 
British battery positions near Swan Chateau. At night the 4th Cana- 
dian Battalion took over the support positions and the 14th moved 
back to Victoria Lines. 

August 10th was spent by the Battalion in preparing for the first 
stage of a march to the 2nd Army Training Area, west of St. Omer. 
Before this march began General Sir Julian Byng sent his B.G.G.S. 



1916 FROM THE SALIENT TO THE SOMME 



103 



to call on Lieut. -Col. Clark and convey congratulations on the work 
which the Battalion had accomplished in the Salient. The envoy was 
further instructed to state that, after inspecting all battalions under 
his command, General Byng considered " that the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, was as efficient a unit as any in the Cana- 
dian Corps ”. Well pleased with this recognition and praise from the 
Corps Commander, the 14th Battalion marched from Victoria Lines 
at 6 a.m. on August 11th and reached billets in the Steenvoorde Area 
three hours and fifty minutes later. In this area the Battalion rested 
for the remainder of the day, reveille sounding soon after midnight 
and the unit marching at 2 a.m. on the 12th to a Brigade rendezvous. 
Reaching this point at 2.45 a.m., the 14th Battalion picked up its place 
in the Brigade Column, which marched a quarter-hour later. 

On this march Divisional Headquarters accompanied the Brigade, 
the whole column, over six miles long, being made up as follows: — • 

Divisional H.Q., with Transport 

H.Q. Div’l. Engineers, with Transport 

Brigade H.Q., with Transport 

No. 4 Signal Section, with Transport 

15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders 

16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish 

14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment 

13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada 

Transport of the 4 battalions brigaded 

Machine Gun Company, with Transport 

Trench Mortar Battery, with Transport 

1st and 3rd Field Companies, Canadian Engineers 

3rd Canadian Field Ambulance. 

On reaching the Noordpeene Area at 9.55 a.m. the 14th Battalion 
moved into billets, Headquarters being set up in Point du Jour on the 
Watten-Cassel Road. From this spot the Battalion marched on the 
following morning, arriving at Eperlecques about 9.45 o’clock and 
billeting in a chateau and outbuildings about one-half mile from the 
town. No. 4 Coy. and the Intelligence Section billeted on the out- 
skirts of the town. 

For two weeks the Battalion remained at Eperlecques, carrying 
out a stiff programme of training, varied by baseball, football, and 
cricket matches against other units in the area. On August 14th the 
morning was devoted to practice of companies and battalion in attack; 
a muster parade and kit inspection taking place in the afternoon. 



104 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



Battalion in attack was again practised on the following day, and on 
the morning of the 16th, manoeuvres were carried out on the special 
Training Area, No. 4 Coy. defending a selected position against an 
attack by Nos. 1, 2, and 3 Companies. In the afternoon the 14th 
Battalion played the 16th at baseball, five runs in the second half of 
the ninth inning winning the game for the Royal Montrealers by a 
score of 8 — 7. 

Company, platoon, section, and arm drills occupied the early 
morning of August 17th, these being followed by instruction to com- 
pany bombers, bayonet fighting, and instruction to the Battalion 
Scouts. In the afternoon the men added to their sporting laurels by 
defeating a team from No. 3 Canadian Field Ambulance at football. 
On the following day the Battalion practised the advance, with special 
attention paid to flank and rear guards, also to the protection of a 
column at rest. Later in the day Capt. Betts lectured to the entire 
unit on “ Use of the Bayonet 

A church parade was held on the morning of August 20th, this 
being followed by musketry practice on the rifle ranges, smoke helmet, 
company, platoon, and section drills. For their defeat at football the 
men of No. 3 Field Ambulance secured revenge by defeating the 
Royal Montrealers at cricket, rain later interrupting a football match 
between the 14th Battalion and the 1st Divisional Train. 

Musketry practice on the ranges, with and without smoke helmets, 
featured fhe training on August 21st, the Divisional Gas Officer, on 
the same date, lecturing to 25% of the company and details personnel. 
Lectures on bombs and gas were also delivered on the afternoon of 
August 22nd; in the forenoon the Battalion had proceeded to the 
Training Area and once more practised attack. Clear indication of 
whither all this special training led was furnished on August 23rd 
when the Divisional Grenade Officer lectured on “ The Use of Lewis 
Guns, Bombs, and Trench Mortars in the Battles of the Somme 
Following this lecture a concert was held, men of the 13th, 15th, and 
16th Battalions and of the 3rd Canadian Field Ambulance being 
invited to attend. 

At 5.15 p.m. on August 27th the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 
Regiment, fell in at Epcrlecques and marched to St. Omer Railway 
Station. Arriving at half-past eight, the Battalion entrained at 9.30 
and at 10.03 the train of box cars got under way. It travelled all 
night and jolted into Conteville Station at 5.45 o’clock in the morn- 
ing, the men detraining and marching to the outskirts of Coulon- 
villers, where billets were occupied at 8.55 a.m. 



1916 FROM THE SALIENT TO THE SOMME 105 

Continuing the move on August 29th, the Battalion left Coulon- 
villers at 7.30 a.m., marched steadily, and reached Pernois at 1.15 p.m. 
“ Fall in ” sounded at 7 o’clock on the morning of the 30th, when the 
Battalion joined other units of the 3rd Brigade in a march to la 
Vicogne. Some straggling had occurred on the previous day and atten- 
tion of all ranks was called to the fact that this reflected on the disci- 
pline and training of the Regiment. Accordingly, when Lieut. W. Sharp, 
billeting officer, met the Battalion at la Vicogne at 12.05 p.m., no 
stragglers were reported. Having rested all afternoon on August 30th, 
the Battalion resumed the march at 7.30 o’clock on the morning of the 
31st. In contrast to the previous days, which had been showery, 
August 31st was fine, sunny, and reasonably cool, the men enjoying 
the march which terminated at a camp in a wood north of Vadencourt 
at 12.45 p.m. 



CHAPTER X 



THE SOMME 

What place is this? What underworld of pain. 

All shadow-barred with glare of swinging fires? 

What writhing phantoms of the newly slain? 

What cries? What thirst consuming all desires? 

This is the field of battle. 

— Sir Henry Newbolt. 



I 

W HILE the units of the Canadian Corps were fighting in the 
Ypres Salient, Sir Douglas Haig, in conjunction with French 
armies on the right, struck the opening blows in that vast 
engagement now known as “ The Battles of the Somme, 1916 ”. The 
exact purpose behind this great series of battles was a mystery at the 
time, many students of the military situation viewing with uneasiness 
the tremendous waste of life and material and the slow daily progress 
of the Allied Armies towards undiscoverable objectives. Actually, 
the battles served many purposes. In the first place they relieved the 
French Army, which for months had been enduring almost unbearable 
pressure at Verdun; secondly, they prevented transfer of German 
troops to the Russian front; thirdly, they presented a serious threat 
to enemy communications along the line Cambrai-LeCateau-Mau- 
bcuge; and fourthly, they wore down the strength of Germany. Of 
all the purposes mentioned above, the last was the most important. 
By 1916 the war had entered on that phase which Sir Douglas Haig 
calls “ the period of ceaseless attrition ”, that is to say, the period in 
which two great adversaries, putting forth ail their strength, deliver 
those mighty blows beneath which one or other must eventually 
weaken. On July 6th, five days after the battle began, Col. Reping- 
ton, Military Correspondent of the London “ Times ”, visited British 
G.H.Q. by invitation. Maps, orders, and many confidential documents 
were shown to him, and one point emphasized over and again. 
“ Remember ”, said General Charteris, of the Staff, “ the purpose of 
this action is to kill Germans; all strategic objectives are sec- 
ondary ”. Sir Douglas Haig, in his “ Final Despatch ” of the war, 
states his belief that in the German losses during the Battles of the 
Somme, 1916, and during the Flanders fighting, which culminated at 
Passchendaele in 1917, is to be found “ the secret of our victory in 
1918”. That this whole “period of ceaseless attrition” was a vital 



1916 



TIIE SOMME 



107 



factor in the ultimate collapse of the German Army, no one who 
reads Gen. Ludendorff’s war memoirs can reasonably doubt. 

General Ludendorff’s admission that, following the Battles of the 
Somme, the German Army on the western front was “ completely 
exhausted ”, has silenced many who at the time criticized Sir Douglas 
Haig severely. The public hoped for sensational victory, and was 
disappointed. The Government, too, was disappointed and queru- 
lous, though Mr. Asquith loyally supported the Commander-in-Chief. 
In France chagrin found expression in the humiliating dismissal of 
Marshal Joffre and General Foch. Joffre was succeeded by General 
Nivelle, who had achieved brilliant success in recapturing Forts Dou- 
aumont and Vaux at Verdun. Nivelle scorned the theory that attrition 
alone could bring Germany to her knees. He believed that seventy 
million people could be beaten by a coup. Despite grave warnings, 
he tested his belief in April, 1917. French graves along the Chemin 
des Dames, and a name since synonymous with failure, attest the 
measure of his success. 

Following the sweep forward of the new British Armies on July 
1st, Sir Douglas Haig moved division after division and corps after 
corps into action. In most places the first attack penetrated the front 
line with ease, but, as the assault bit deeper and deeper into the Ger- 
man lines, it lost the advantages of a first rush and encountered 
opposition which frequently brought it to a standstill. Never for 
long, however, was stalemate permitted to continue, exhausted troops, 
who could drive no further, and shattered battalions, which had lost 
all power to strike, being replaced in the line by fresh units, or at least 
by units rested and prepared to advance once more. And always 
there was the mud; and always the roar of guns. Some idea of the 
gunfire can be gained from the fact that during the five months of the 
battle the British alone fired 11 million 18-pounder shells and 5 million 
rounds from 4.5-inch howitzers. Seven hundred and thirty heavy 
guns backed the British armies in France on July 1st, many of these 
at the Somme, the total tonnage of the ammunition they expended 
being expressed in figures beyond anything the world had seen before. 
Small wonder that the battlefields of the Somme were torn and rent 
beyond all recognition. 

. II 

After training for two weeks at the Special Area of the 2nd Army, 
near St. Omer, the Canadian Corps moved to take part in the Battles 
of the Somme. At 4.25 p.m. on September 1st the 14th Battalion, 



108 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



Royal Montreal Regiment, completed a march from Vadencourt to 
the “Brickfields”, north-west of Albert, where, in pouring rain, tar- 
paulins were propped up to provide “ billets ”, which otherwise were 
conspicuously lacking. The Somme district at this time was divided 
into three areas, the fighting zone, the assembly zone, and the resting 
zone, with headquarters respectively in Albert, Rubempre, and 
Canaples. On arrival in Albert, therefore, troops were under no delu- 
sion as to what lay before them. Details might be unknown, but a 
tour in the line was certain. Accordingly, at the Brickfields, the men 
of the 14th, veterans of the Salient for the most part, prepared to 
face the unknown hazards of the Somme. A cheerful incident of the 
first day in the area was the posting of a list of promotions, Captains 
F. W. Utton, J. C. K. Carson, and J. F. Sumption becoming majors, 
or acting majors, and being succeeded as captains by Lieuts. J. K. 
Nesbitt, W. E. Beaton, M.C., and G. L. Stairs. 

All day on September 2nd the 14th Battalion remained at the 
Brickfields employed in the multitudinous details of preparing for a 
tour in the line. At 7 p.m. the companies moved independently to 
billets in Albert, all ranks displaying interest as they passed the fam- 
ous church crowned by the leaning statue of the Virgin, which hung 
precariously with outstretched arms, as if to protect and bless the 
troops beneath. Gradually a superstition had arisen that when this 
statue fell the end of the war would be at hand. Anxiously, therefore, 
men watched it from day to day, few being aware that French engi- 
neers had fastened it, lest it should fall at an inopportune time. In 
1918, when Germany was about to sue for peace, the statue justified 
the superstitious by toppling heavily to the ground. 

At 9.30 a.m. on September 3rd the 14th Battalion received a warn- 
ing to be ready to move on two hours’ notice. Somewhat later a party 
of 12 officers and 20 N.C.O’s. moved forward to reconnoitre positions 
at Tara Hill and la Boisselle, the main body of the Battalion dividing 
into Protestant and Roman Catholic sections to attend Divine Ser- 
vice. On this occasion the Roman Catholic service was conducted by 
Major .1. O’Gorman, who had been appointed Roman Catholic Chap- 
lain of the Battalion some two months previously. Following the 
religious services, the Battalion, at 12.45 p.m., moved forward to 
Divisional Reserve positions at Tara Hill. From these trenches and 
bivouacs, the unit moved on the 5th to Brigade Reserve positions at 
the Chalk Pits. 

From the Chalk Pits it was at one time suggested that the Bat- 
talion might move forward and attack Mouquet Farm, a position 



1910 



THE SOMME 



109 



from which several Australian attacks had recoiled with heavy losses, 
but in the neighbourhood of which the 13th Battalion, in conjunction 
with the Australians, had secured a precarious footing. Moving for- 
ward into the line, Lieut.-Col. Clark joined Lieut.-Col. V. C. 
Buchanan, of the 13th Battalion, and carefully reconnoitred the front 
to see if an attack were possible. Judging from the experiences of 
the 13th and from the condition of the terrain surrounding Mouquet 
Farm that one battalion’s strength would be dissipated without com- 
pensating gain, both officers agreed that a single battalion attack was 
inadvisable. Lieut.-Col. Clark reported accordingly to Brigade and 
the tentative plan was abandoned. 

At night on September 6th the 14th Battalion was ordered to 
carry out a series of reliefs. In obedience to these orders No. 1 Coy. 
moved to Tom’s Cut; No. 2 Coy. remained in the Chalk Pits; No. 3 
Coy. relieved a company of the 16th Battalion in trenches at the most 
advanced point of the whole Somme Salient; and No. 4 Coy. relieved 
a company of the 13th Battalion in trenches and shell holes south 
and east of Mouquet Farm. 

As the companies, following these reliefs, acted more or less inde- 
pendently, it will be necessary to follow them individually for some 
48 hours. No. 4 Coy., commanded by Capt. W. E. Beaton, M.C., 
moved forward as instructed and completed relief of the 13th Bat- 
talion company at 2.30 a.m. Some casualties were suffered during the 
relief and shell fire continued throughout the night, but, in spite of 
this hindrance, the men set to work and improved the position by 
linking up scattered posts in shell holes and strengthening the front 
against the possibility of counter-attacks. Further defensive works 
were constructed on August 7th, the company being relieved at mid- 
night by a company of the 8th Canadian Battalion and moving back 
to bivouacs at Tara Hill. 

Meanwhile two platoons of No. 3 Coy. and one section of bombers, 
under Capt. G. L. Stairs, had moved forward to relieve the company 
of the 16th Battalion in the extreme tip of the Salient. Heavy shell 
fire met the advance and Capt. Stairs was instantly killed. As a 
result of the same fire Lieut. G. T. Bartlett was wounded. In addi- 
tion to these serious losses, a party of bombers, under Sergt. J. W. 
Hoare, was buried by the upheaval of a great mass of mud and earth. 
Every effort was made by survivors to dig out the buried men, but 
five had perished before the rescue could be effected. Among these 
was Sergt. Hoare, a brave N.C.O. whom the Battalion could ill afford 
to lose. 



110 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



Unfortunately, during the forward progress of the platoons of No. 
3 Coy., the guides furnished by the 16th Battalion fell wounded. In 
a maze of unidentifiable trenches and water-filled shell holes this 
created a serious situation, as none of the Royal Montrealers knew 
the front, or had more than a hazy idea as to the location of the line. 
Day dawned as the remnant of the platoons struggled forward, but 
the courage of the men was high and permitted no thought of turning 
back. At last, at 10 a.m., one N.C.O. and thirty men, all that was 
left of the original two platoons, reported to the officer commanding 
the company of the 16th. 

By this time news of the early casualties had arrived back at Bat- 
talion H.Q., and Capt. R. C. MacKenzie and Lieut. C. H. Sclater had 
been sent forward to replace the officers who had fallen. On arrival 
in the line, Capt. MacKenzie took command, his little force being 
strengthened during the morning by a platoon of No. 1 Coy., which 
with great daring managed to crawl to him over the open. Clinging 
to their section of front all day on September 7th. Capt. MacKenzie 
and his men prepared for what the night should bring. Shelling was 
severe throughout the hours of darkness. Accordingly, it was with 
relief that the weakened little force handed over the front at 6 a.m. 
on September 8th to a company of the 7th Canadian Battalion. 

But the end was not yet; for just as relief was completed, two 
hundred men of the Prussian Guard, supported by artillery, attacked 
the front line. Eventually this attack was thrown back with severe 
losses, but before the Germans were defeated, Capt. MacKenzie and 
Lieut. Sclater were wounded, and a number of 14th Battalion bombers, 
who had taken a fine part in the fray, were killed, wounded, or 
captured. Among the killed was Private F. Purcell, who had accounted 
for not less than 20 of the enemy. When the Germans had been 
ejected from (he Canadian front, the remnant of Capt, MacKenzie’s 
command withdrew to Tara Hill. 

Meanwhile, at 10 a.m. on September 7th, the situation on the front 
of the remaining companies of the 16th Battalion had become serious. 
At 10.30 a.m. the Royal Montreal Regiment received verbal orders to 
relieve the 16th completely, Lieut. G. B. Murray, Lieut. B. L. Cook, 
and 67 other ranks from No. 1 Coy. carrying out the order and com- 
pleting the relief at 2.30 p.m. Seven casualties reduced Lieut. Murray’s 
trench strength to 60 before the relief was complete, nevertheless he 
held his position all afternoon and night on September 7th and, fol- 
lowing the wounding of Lieut. Cook and a number of men, organized 
counter-attacks when the enemy assaulted the front at 6.10 o’clock 



1916 



THE SOMME 



ill 



on the morning of September 8th. Having suffered approximately 50 
casualties, Lieut. Murray, on relief by the 7th Battalion, withdrew 
about noon to the position which the Battalion had taken up at Tara 
Hill. Lieut. Murray’s work during this engagement won for him a 
Military Cross. 

While companies and detachments of the 14th Battalion were 
carrying out the operations described above, the main body of the 
Regiment held a position with the left flank resting on Mouquet 
Farm. Shell fire harassed the men during this time and a number 
were wounded. On the night of the 6th Hon. Major John O’Gorman, 
Roman Catholic Chaplain of the Battalion, was seriously wounded 
while devotedly ministering to casualties in Xo Man’s Land. For the 
gallantry displayed on this occasion Major O’Gorman, priest, soldier, 
and gentleman, was awarded the Military Cross. In all, officer casual- 
ties for the engagement amounted to 1 killed and 5 wounded. Amongst 
the other ranks 44 men were killed outright, 116 were wounded, and 
33 were reported missing. Many of these last, it was certain, had 
fallen unobserved in one or other of the countless shell holes, or mud- 
filled trenches, which formed so unforgettable a feature of the Somme. 

II 

At 9 o’clock on the morning of September 9th the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, marched from the bivouacs at Tara Hill 
to billets in the village of Warloy. “ Fall in ” sounded at 7 a.m. on 
the 10th, the Battalion marching to Herissart, moving thence at 1 p.m. 
on the following day, and arriving in Montrelet at 5.15. A muster 
parade and kit inspections occupied the time of the men on September 
12th, and on the 13th, a cold and rainy day, the Battalion carried out 
squad, platoon, company, and arm drills at the Special Training Area. 
Similar drills and extended order movements were practised on the 
14th, and on the 15th the Battalion started a march back towards the 
battlefields of the Somme, reaching la Vicogne at 9.15 o’clock in the 
morning and there resting over night. 

As the Battalion approached the Somme, the British Army, for 
the first time in warfare, made use of tanks. About 50 of these mon- 
sters lurched to the attack on September 15th, amazing the 2nd and 
3rd Canadian Divisions, whom they supported, and inspiring fear in 
the hearts of the enemy. Battle revealed defects in most of the tanks, 
but demonstration of their potential worth won a place for them as a 
recognized branch of the Service. German poison gas and the British 



112 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1911s 



tank represent the most important weapons conceived in the course 
of the Great War. Flame projectors and similar devices were occa- 
sionally effective on limited fronts; gas and the tank each involved 
adjustments affecting the whole realm of military tactics. 

Continuing the march at 8 a.m. on September 16th, the Battalion 
reached Vadencourt four hours later and moved into camp in the 
wood north of the village. September 17th was spent in this location, 
kit inspection taking place in the morning and a Protestant Church 
Parade, Capt. Moffatt officiating, in the afternoon. On the afternoon 
of the 18th the Battalion marched to the Brickfields at Albert. Rain 
fell on the morning of the 19th, which was spent by the men in clean- 
ing up and attending to repair of their clothing and kit. On the 20th 
the Regiment practised battalion in attack and on the 21st of the 
month a party of 4 officers and 225 other ranks was furnished to repair 
the Courcelette Road. Three men were wounded by shell fire on this 
occasion, a similar party on September 22nd proving more fortunate 
and escaping without losses. 

An event of interest at this time was the issue to men of the Cana- 
dian Corps of coloured shoulder patches, which identified at a glance 
the unit to which any individual belonged. Each man was given an 
oblong patch, coloured red in the case of the 1st Division, and this 
was surmounted on the shoulder by a smaller patch, the colour and 
shape of which identified the brigade and battalion. This second 
patch, if blue, meant that the wearer belonged to the 3rd Brigade; if 
in the shape of a circle (i.e., a figure bounded by one continuous line), 
it meant that the man was a member of the first battalion in the 
Brigade, or, in other words, of the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders 
of Canada. If the blue patch consisted of a figure bounded by two 
lines, that is to say, a semi-circle, it marked the wearer as belonging 
to the second battalion in the Brigade, namely, the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, The third and fourth battalions of the 
Brigade, namely, the 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders, and the 16th - 
Battalion, Canadian Scottish, were similarly identifiable, the former 
by a three-sided (triangular) patch and the latter by a four-sided 
figure, cut square. Divisional and brigade patches, being sewn onto 
the sleeve of tunics at the shoulder, could be removed, or replaced, 
when a man left France, or was transferred. 

On the afternoon of September 23rd the 14th Battalion moved 
from the Brickfields and relieved the 4th Canadian Battalion in Bri- 
gade Support positions. These positions were taken over by the 15th 
Battalion on the evening of the 24th, the Royal Montreal Regiment 



1916 



THE SOMME 



113 



then proceeding to relieve the 10th Canadian Battalion in close sup- 
port. Previous to this move of the main body, No. 1 Coy. had moved 
forward and taken over a section of Sugar Trench. No. 2 Coy. now 
advanced into Sugar Trench and connected up with No. 1 Coy., and 
Nos. 3 and 4 Companies proceeded to take over a position in Sunken 
Road. 

In Operation Order No. 88, dated “ In the Field ”, September 25th, 
1916, Lieut. -Col. R. P. Clark, M.C., notified officers and men of the 
Battalion of the task which lay immediately before them. Summar- 
ized, this document ordered that: — 

(1) On September 26th the 14th Canadian Battalion will attack 
and take by assault: — 

(a) First Objective:— Sudbury Trench (between two 
points indicated). 

(b) Second Objective: — Kenora Trench (between flank- 
ing points similarly indicated). 

(c) Any other position held by the enemy south of 
Kenora Trench. (Provided that such position be 
within the boundaries indicated.) 

(2) The following marks will be used to define the direction of 
objectives and the flanks of the advance: — 

(a) On the Left: — The crooked pole about 700 yards 
due north from left flank. 

(b) On the Right: — A bushy tree, due north from right 
flank. 

(3) Assembly: — 

(a) No. 2 Coy. on the left. 

(b) No. 3 Coy. in centre. 

(c) No. 4 Coy. on the right. 

(d) No. 1 Coy. in support on Mouquet Road. 

(4) Connecting Units: — 

(a) On the left: — 15th Battalion. 

(b) On the right: — 6th Can. Inf. Bde. 

(5) Method of Assault: — 

The assault will be carried out on a three-company front, 
with one company in support. Each attacking company 
will have attached to it one platoon of the 16th Battalion 
for “ mopping up ” purposes. 

Each company will advance to the assault in five waves, 
on a frontage of one platoon. “ Mopping up ” party will 
accompany the second wave. 



114 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



Great care must be taken to avoid bunching, or leaving 
gaps in the line. 

(6) Prisoners: — 

Prisoners will be sent to the Road Junction near present 
14th Battalion Headquarters. They will then be handed 
over to a 16th Battalion escort, from whom a receipt for 
them will be obtained. 

(7) Action on Taking Each Objective: — 

(a) At zero hour, which will be named later, the inten- 
sive shrapnel barrage will begin, and the assaulting 
troops will advance up to it. 

(b) On arrival at 1st Objective, the waves intended to 
reach the 2nd and final objectives will cross and 
reform beyond it, leaving in the 1st Objective only 
the parties detailed to “ mop up ” and consolidate. 

(b) On arrival at the 2nd Objective, patrols wall be 
pushed forward for reconnaissance. During the 
pause on the 2nd Objective, the line will be consoli- 
dated and arrangements made for the final assault. 

(d) As soon as the Final Objective is reached, patrols 
will be pushed out as far as the barrage permits; 
Lewis gun posts will be established, and the new 
line consolidated. 

(e) As each objective is reached, and the trenches behind 
vacated, the troops in support and reserve will close 
up to the vacated trenches. 

(8) Artillery Arrangements: — 

(a) The bombardment is now in progress and will con- 
tinue until zero. 

(b) At zero the heavy artillery will barrage in succes- 
sion, Hessian, Kenora, Courcelette, North and South 
Practice, and Regina Trenches, also communication 
trenches leading from the flanks of Regina Trench. 
From these points the barrage will be lifted onto 
the Sunken Roads and Ravines leading south from 
the Valley of the Ancre, and onto Grandcourt 
Trench. 

(c) At zero an intense shrapnel barrage will be put on 
100 yards short of the German front line trench on 
the whole front of the attack. At zero plus 1 
minute this barrage will lift to the German front 



1916 



THE SOMME 



115 



line trench (1st Objective) for 7 minutes. Barrage 
will then be lifted back 150 yards beyond the 1st 
Objective. Between objectives the rate of advance 
is calculated at 100 yards to 2 minutes. 

(9) Assembly: — 

All units will be ready in assembly positions three 
hours before zero, and before daylight, without fail. 

(10) Liaison: — 

Major Gault McCombe will act as Liaison Officer at 
3rd Brigade Headquarters. Lieut. J. F. Fitzpatrick will 
carry out similar duties at Headquarters of the battalion 
on the right flank. 

(11) Contact Patrol: — 

No. 7 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, details patrols to 
fly at zero; at zero plus 1 hour and 45 minutes; and 
again at zero plus 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

Flares, at these hours, will be lighted by the most 
advanced line of infantry when the contact machines 
sound a klaxon horn, or fire a Very light. Contact patrol 
machines are marked with a black band under the right 
lower plane and a blue streamer on the inside stay of 
the right wing. Flares can best be seen when the machine 
is approaching and not when directly overhead. If the 
sun is shining reflecting mirrors as well as flares will be 
used. Flares should be lit in groups of 3, and none 
should be used except by the advanced troops. A reserve 
should be kept for use after the line is consolidated. 

(12) Flag Marks: — 

Coloured flags will be used for marking the right flank 
during the advance. These are not to be placed in the 
ground, but will move forward with the advance. 

(13) Synchronization of Watches: — 

At Battalion Headquarters at 6 p.m. ; at 12 midnight; 
and again at 4 a.m. preceding zero. 

(14) Equipment: — 

Troops must carry light marching order, 48 hours’ 
rations, water bottles filled, 4 grenades, 120 rounds 
small arm ammunition, 6 sandbags, shovels, and picks. 
Troops will advance with fixed bayonets. 

(15) Medical: — 

Regimental Aid Post will be situated as at present. 



no 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT mo 



Advanced Dressing Station will be at the Cemetery, 
Pozieres. Field Ambulance is responsible for evacua- 
tion from Regimental Aid Post to Advanced Dressing 
Station. Walking cases will proceed to the Quarry on 
Pozieres-Albert Road, between Tramway X and la 
Boisselle. 

Any man sent to the rear, sick or wounded, must be 
tagged by the Medical Officer, or carry authority signed 
by an officer. Any man not in possession of either of 
these will be stopped by battle posts. 

Captain Luton, M.O., will command 120 other ranks of 
the 16th Battalion detailed as stretcher-bearers. 

During the attack no one is to remain behind with 
wounded officers or other ranks. The stretcher-bearers 
only must attend to this duty. It will be considered a 
grave breach of discipline if this rule is not strictly 
adhered to. 

(16) Note: — 

Should the assault on the Final Objective be considered 
impracticable, steps will be taken to drive the enemy 
from any high ground from which he can observe our 
approaches. 

Further details as to barrages, the making of reports, the establish- 
ment of strong points, and the function of the Battalion machine guns 
were set forth in Operation Order No. 88. A few hours later Lieut. A. 
Plow, Regimental Adjutant, issued a Special Order supplementing the 
original. In brief this order stated that: — 

(1) Zero will be at 12.35 p.m., September 26th. 

(2) This time is to be communicated only to those 
whom it directly concerns. The telephone will not 
be used for this purpose. 

(3) Watches will be carefully synchronized at 6 a.m. 
and 9 a.m., September 26th. 

(4) The assaulting companies and all troops in the firing 
line will take the greatest care to conceal the assem- 
bly. They will not move into their jumping-off 
positions until the barrage opens. 

(5) Bayonets will not be fixed until just before the 
zero hour. 



1916 



THE SOMME 



117 



III 

In obedience to the instructions in Operation Order 88 and the 
Special Order issued as a supplement, the 14th Battalion, Royal Mont- 
real Regiment, moved forward into front line trenches held by the 
13th Battalion, and there awaited the hour of assault. The presence 
of so many troops crowded the trenches, but no hint of the congestion 
reached the enemy, and shelling was normal. 

For the attack, No. 2 Coy. of the Battalion was under command 
of Major J. F. Sumption, who had with him Lieuts. E. B. Nelles, G. M. 
Sylvester, and S. S. Jones; No. 3 Coy. was commanded by Capt. C. G. 
Power, supported by Lieuts. W. Sharp and W. J. Holliday; No. 4 Coy. 
was led by Capt. W. E. Beaton, M.C., who had with him as platoon 
commanders, Lieuts. R. A. Pelletier, E. M. Hyman, and O. J. Larzen; 
and No. 1 Coy., in reserve, was under command of Major J. C. Iv. 
Carson, whose subalterns were Lieuts. H. E. Banks and E. H. Raymond. 

During the long hours of the morning the men of the attacking 
companies lay in the front line trenches, smoking and chatting with 
the Highlanders. As noon approached final preparations were made 
and at 12.30 p.m. the lines obeyed the command, “Fix bayonets!” 
Then, at 12.34 p.m., the machine gun barrage opened and one minute 
later the first wave climbed the parapet. Seventy yards behind moved 
the second wave, accompanied by the “ mopping up ” party of the 
16th Battalion, and followed a few moments later by the third and 
fourth waves. 

It seems that the machine gun barrage gave warning to the enemy 
of what to expect. Certainly the attack was not an entire surprise, 
for when the second wave climbed the parapet the enemy had lined 
his trenches and was firing heavily. In spite of this lashing rifle and 
machine gun fire, the attack swept into the German line, proof that 
the Battalion had established contact with the enemy being furnished 
five minutes after zero when 45 prisoners were bundled back to the 
Canadian trenches. Little desire to fight was shown by the enemy at 
this stage, the number of dead bodies strewn about indicating that 
the preliminary bombardment had inflicted heavy losses. 

At 1.03 p.m. observation showed that the men of the 14th were 
in full possession of their first objective. Accordingly, a party, under 
Coy. Sergt.-Major G. A. McLellan, was sent forward to establish a 
post which would defend the position against counter-attack. A 
counter-attack advanced at about this time, but, lacking strength, it 
broke down and failed to check the assaulting companies, which at 



118 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



1.10 p.m. had driven over the crest of a small ridge on their imme- 
diate front. 

Two minutes after the assault had reached the crest of the little 
ridge, No. 1 Coy. was ordered forward to consolidate the first objec- 
tive. Meanwhile, under increasing shell, rifle, and machine gun fire, 
the attacking waves were moving forward, men falling in formidable 
numbers, but the remainder advancing steadily and dealing with such 
enemy parties as they encountered. At 2.40 p.m. Lieut. W. J. Holli- 
day, who had succeeded to the command of No. 3 Coy. when Capt. 
C. G. Power fell wounded, reported that the final objective had been 
attained. This satisfactory report was confirmed by Lieut. R. A. 
Pelletier, of No. 4 Coy., who returned to Battalion Headquarters 
wounded. After having his wounds dressed, Lieut. Pelletier insisted 
on rejoining his company in the line. It would be agreeable to report 
that this brave officer survived, but such was not the case. He fell 
before the day was ended. 

Meanwhile, in Kenora Trench, the men of the Royal Montreal 
Regiment were experiencing a severe test of their courage and endur- 
ance. Both flanks remained in the hands of the enemy, as the 31st 
Battalion on the right had been checked short of its final objective, 
as had the 15th Battalion on the left. Three German counter-attacks 
were launched during the afternoon, but these were beaten off and 
left a number of prisoners in Canadian hands. At intervals the Ger- 
man artillery barraged Kenora Trench and enemy bombers launched 
vicious attacks from the two flanks, and all the time enemy machine 
guns held the position under enfilade. At night barrage fire continued, 
the Royal Montrealers crouching behind such parapets as existed, but 
rising when necessity called to fling back enemy bombers who tried 
to rush the flanks. 

By 3 o’clock on the morning of September 27th two-thirds of the 
garrison of Kenora Trench had fallen and Lieut. Holliday, the sole 
officer alive and unwounded, realized that his position was serious. 
To avoid possible capture, or the complete destruction of his com- 
mand by shell fire, he decided to retire from Kenora into a reserve 
trench, which had been prepared some distance to the rear. He first 
saw to the evacuation of his wounded and then issued the order to 
withdraw. Showing every evidence of discipline and training, the 
survivors of the attack on Kenora Trench carried out this movement 
without further losses. 

Having supervised the withdrawal to the reserve line immediately 
in rear, Lieut. Holliday reported to Battalion Headquarters and was 



1916 



THE SOMME 



119 



informed that two platoons of the 16th Battalion had gone forward 
to reinforce him. With this added strength it was thought that Kenora 
Trench could be held. Accordingly, Holliday was ordered to attack 
and reoccupy the position without delay. Proceeding to the front, 
Holliday collected 17 men and with this small force advanced against 
his assigned objective. Amongst his men he distributed 7 tins of 
water, a shortage of which had caused much inconvenience on the 
previous day. What the Germans in Kenora Trench thought when 
the spectacle of an attack by 17 men presented itself, no one will ever 
know. Perhaps they imagined that the water tins contained Cana- 
dian “ frightfulness ”. Be that as it may, the majority fled, some half- 
dozen surrendering with little more than a show of resistance. 

With Kenora Trench in his hands, Lieut. Holliday asked Lieut. 
Tupper, commanding the reinforcing platoons of the 16th Battalion, 
to move forward and assist in consolidation. Lieut. Tupper at once 
complied, his men working splendidly, aiding the men of the 14th in 
every way possible, and suffering with the latter when the enemy laid 
a barrage along the whole front. 

At about 6 p.m. the Germans launched a bombing attack along 
Kenora Trench from the left, at the same time massing approximately 
200 men on the right, with the obvious intention of cutting off the 
Canadians and forcing a surrender. As the enfilade fire of enemy 
machine guns rendered defence exceedingly difficult and as the strength 
of the German party on the right threatened irreparable disaster, 
Lieuts. Holliday and Tupper agreed that an immediate retirement to 
the reserve line was advisable. Accordingly, orders were issued and the 
withdrawal successfully carried out. 

By the time that news of this second withdrawal from Kenora 
Trench had reached Brigade Headquarters, plans for further attacks 
on the flanks had been prepared. Lieut. Holliday, therefore, was 
ordered to hold his reserve position throughout the remainder of the 
night and, for the third time, to assault Kenora Trench at 2 o’clock 
on the morning of September 28th. Lieut. Tupper’s party of the 16th 
Battalion was ordered to join in the attack. At the same hour, Holli- 
day was informed, the 15th Battalion would attack on the left, and 
further to the left the assault would be pushed by units of the 2nd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade. On the right, it was stated, the 31st 
Canadian Battalion had already taken the final objectives. Had this 
information been correct, Lieut. Holliday’s attack would have been 
protected from enfilade. Unfortunately, such was not the case. 



120 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1910 



Weary and exhausted from nearly forty hours of continuous fight- 
ing, but quite unsubdued in spirit, the men of the 14th and 16th 
Battalions prepared for the coming operation, Lieut, J. F. Fitzpatrick, 
the 14th Battalion Machine Gun Officer, and Lieut. A. L. McLean, of 
the Intelligence Section, moving forward to assist Holliday in leading 
the assault. Together, the subalterns collected a force of about 75 
men and at 2 a.m. the attack started. 

Pushing forward resolutely, the Royal Montrealers approached 
Kcnora Trench, the vicinity of which was brilliantly lit by flares. 
Movement without discovery was impossible under such circum- 
stances, anti the enemy, perceiving the advance, promptly laid a field 
artillery and machine gun barrage bettveen the Canadians and their 
objective. This barrage, powerful and well-directed, caused sharp losses 
amongst the men of the 14th, who were further harassed, as in the 
previous attacks, by vicious fire from both flanks. Realizing at 
2.30 a.m. that the attacks on his flanks had not come forward as 
arranged, or that they had been checked short of their objectives, and 
finding that penetration of the enemy barrage would leave his party 
too weak to deal with resistance in Ivenora Trench, Lieut. Holliday 
relinquished the attempt and withdrew the survivors of his force to 
the reserve trench whence they had “jumped off”. In this position 
the detachment was relieved at 7 a.m. by the 25th Canadian Battalion, 
which previously had relieved the main body of the 14th Battalion. 

In reporting to Brigade Headquarters on the operations of Septem- 
ber 26th-28th, Lieut. -Col. Clark mentions the Battalion’s heavy 
losses: — 

“ I deeply regret to report the death in action of Lieut. 
E. M. Hyman; also that Lieut. R. A. Pelletier and Lieut. Wylie 
Sharp died of wounds, and that Lieut. G. M. Sylvester is 
missing. 

“The following officers were wounded: — Major J. F. 
Sumption, Capt. W. E. Beaton, M.C., Lieut. H. E. Banks, Lieut. 
E. II. Raymond, Lieut. E. B. Nelles, Capt. C. G. Power, Lieut. 
C. II. Sullivan, Lieut. G. B. Murray, Lieut. 0. J. Larzen (shell 
shock), and Lieut, W. J. Holliday (remained at duty)”. 

Amongst the officers mentioned in the above list Lieut. R. A. 
Pelletier had previously distinguished himself during the advance of 
the Royal Montreal Regiment on the morning of June 3rd, 1916, and 
in the engagement now under review his courage and behaviour had 
commanded the respect of all. His death, therefore, was a matter of 
deep regret to the 14th Battalion. In Lieut. W. Sharp, too, the unit 



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lost an officer who had proved courageous and efficient and had risen 
from the ranks after continuous service since 1914. Lieut. Sylvester 
had been with the Battalion for a shorter time, but during the period 
of his service had won the regard both of his superiors and those under 
his command. Major J. F. Sumption, O.C. No. 2 Coy., had served 
continuously with the Royal Montreal Regiment since May, 1915. 
After a period as a company officer he had taken over the duties of 
Battalion Quartermaster, but eventually, at his own request, he had 
returned to a company. Wounded early in the engagement on Septem- 
ber 26th Major Sumption was evacuated to hospital, whence all ranks 
of the Battalion hoped that he would soon return. This was not to be, 
however, for his wounds proved severe and caused his death on the 
22nd of October. 

After referring to the losses amongst his officers, Lieut.-Col. Clark’s 
report mentions the heavy casualties amongst the non-commissioned 
officers and men, 360 of whom were killed, wounded, or missing. 
Added to the losses in the previous tour, these brought the Somme 
casualties amongst other ranks of the Battalion to a total of 553. A 
less tragic aspect of the report is embodied in those paragraphs in 
which the Commanding Officer brings to the attention of Brigade the 
outstanding services of Lieut. W. J. Holliday, who led the three 
assaults on Kenora Trench; of Major J. C. K. Carson, who displayed 
courage and resource in command of No. 1 Coy.; of Lieut. E. B. 
Nelles, who was wounded while leading No. 2 Coy.; and of Lieut. 
Arthur Plow, who carried out the arduous duties of Battalion Adju- 
tant. In addition, Lieut.-Col. Clark calls to Brig.-Gen. Tuxford’s 
notice the excellent work of Capt. H. M. Urquhart, of the Brigade 
Staff, who, under heavy shell fire, supervised the delivery of material 
and untiringly assisted the Regiment in every conceivable manner. 

The individual work of officers is mentioned in Lieut.-Col. Clark’s 
report to the Brigadier. In addition the Commanding Officer and the 
Battalion have retained a lively appreciation of the devotion to duty 
and the courage displayed by those in the ranks. Amongst the N.C.O’s. 
a splendid example was set by Sergeants A. Jobel, D. Woodward, J. J. 
Rousseau, T. T. Wilson, and E. Lepine, w r ho behaved with great 
gallantry under circumstances trying to the last degree. Unfortun- 
ately, Sergts. Lepine and Rousseau were killed before the engagement 
ended. In dealing with enemy parties and in holding the line under 
overpowering shell fire, Privates R. H. Jones and J. Labelle also 
behaved in a manner that was outstanding even on an occasion when 
brave deeds were the order of the day. 



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THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



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IV 

When the 14th Battalion was relieved by the 25th Canadian Bat- 
talion early on the morning of September 28th, the wearied men of 
the Regiment moved back to billets in Albert, resting there until 
4 p.m. and then marching to spend the night in Warloy. Rain fell 
heavily on September 29th and the Battalion rested, a contrast being 
provided on the following day when in brilliant sunshine Major-Gen. 
A. W. Currie, G.O.C. the 1st Canadian Division, inspected the unit 
and expressed appreciation of the work just accomplished. 

Strong working parties were furnished by the Battalion each day 
between October 1st and 5th, the latter date being marked by a move 
from Warloy to Albert, where Headquarters were established at 32 
Rue des Illieux. On October 6th the Battalion paraded at 7.50 a.m. 
and moved forward into Brigade Support, passing the following day 
in the same positions and moving into close support on October 8th. 
Early on the morning of the 8th, the 13th Battalion, Royal Highland- 
ers of Canada, and the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, in conjunc- 
tion with troops on the flanks, assaulted Regina Trench. Had this 
attack proved successful, the 14th Battalion would probably have 
become engaged. As it was, the Royal Highlanders encountered uncut 
wire, where, despite gallantry and able leadership, the companies 
suffered severe losses, a remnant of the attack returning to the jump- 
ing-off trenches and there standing fast. On the right front the 
Canadian Scottish drove into Regina Trench, killing and wounding 
many of the garrison. Failure on the flanks, however, forced a with- 
drawal. 

Meanwhile, the 14th Battalion had taken over supporting positions 
in Sugar and Cable Trenches, with Headquarters in Gun Pit Road, 
Three officers and 80 other ranks were sent from these positions to 
carry material to the troops in the front line, and Major J. C. K. 
Carson and Lieut. W. J. Holliday, commander and second-in-command 
of the Battalion’s forward details, reported to the C.O. 15th Battalion, 
which was in immediate support to the 13th and 16th. 

All day on October 9th the Battalion lay in trenches in close sup- 
port, awaiting any call that might come from the front line. No 
emergency arose, but on October 10th the unit was ordered to take 
over the Brigade frontage, these orders being cancelled when the 
depleted strength of the companies was realized. Some shelling 
occurred on the 10th, and by night, when the 7th Canadian Battalion 




JMkmokial ro Mkmhkks oi> mi'; Battalion Sommic, l'.llli < aua.iian official copyright 



1916 



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123 



relieved, six names had been added to the casualty roll, two of these 
being placed on the list of killed and four on the list of wounded. 

Moving back from the support positions to the Brickfields, the 
14th spent three days in bivouacs, the companies marching indepen- 
dently at 12.45 p.m. on October 13th to a point in Pozieres, whence 
guides of the 5th Canadian Battalion led them to positions in Brigade 
Reserve. After two uneventful days attached to the 2nd Brigade, 
the Battalion was relieved by the 7th Canadian Battalion and with- 
drew once more to the Brickfields, where it was announced that the 
Regiment’s part in the Somme battles had ended. Bitterness was the 
lot of every battalion at the Somme, and the 14th had tasted its share. 
In a little over a month 600 men had fallen with the result that, on 
parade, the Battalion presented the appearance of a depleted company 
rather than of that unit which for over two years had proudly borne 
the name, Royal Montreal Regiment. 



CHAPTER XI 



MONTREAL GRATER AND 
TRENCH RAIDS 



See you that stretch of shell tom mud spotted with pools of mire, 
Crossed by a burst abandoned trench and tortured strands of wire, 
Where splintered pickets reel and sag and leprous trench-rats play, 
That scour the Devil’s hunting-ground to seek their carrion prey? 

— James H. Knight-Adkin. 



I 

A FTER six weeks of costly fighting at the Somme, the Canadian 
Corps was withdrawn and transferred to trenches on the Vimy 
front. Canada’s participation in the Somme Battles of 1916, 
however, did not end when the Corps withdrew, as the 1st, 2nd, and 
3rd Divisions on their way to Vimy passed the 4th Canadian Division, 
which, after gaining some weeks of experience in the Ypres Salient, 
was marching south. Coming into action at Regina Trench, the new 
Division maintained the Corps’ reputation and earned a place along- 
side the veterans of Ypres, St. Eloi, and Mount Sorrel. Having 
gained distinction, the Division was welcomed into the Corps, when, 
at a later date, it followed the first three divisions to Vimy. 

On October 16th, the 14th Battalion paraded at 10.30 a.m. and 
marched from the Brickfields at Albert to the outskirts of Bouzin- 
court, where a halt was made for lunch. Xo regret was felt by the 
men at leaving the Somme, except that evoked by the thought of the 
gallant officers and men who had fallen. To the memory of these the 
Battalion paid an impressive tribute by marching all morning in 
complete silence. Riding at the head of the Battalion, Lieut.-Col. 
Clark missed the usual singing and whistling and dropped back to see 
if the unwonted silence indicated reaction, or a sudden fall in morale, 
but such was not (he case. Despite heavy losses at the Somme, the 
Regiment maintained its spirit and the silence was significant only 
as a spontaneous honour to the dead. 

Singing and whistling once more, the Battalion resumed the march 
after lunch and reached billets in Warloy at 3.40 p.m. Proceeding on 
the following day, the Royal Montrealers halted for a night at a camp 
on the outskirts of Val-de-Maison, marching again on October 18th 
and billeting at 2.50 p.m. in Pernois. Rain fell heavily on October 
19th and the Battalion rested, six other ranks being furnished to work 



1916 MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 125 

at cleaning “ muck and garbage from the streets and ditches of the 
village ”. 

“ Fall in ” sounded at 8.30 a.m. on October 20th, the Battalion 
marching shortly thereafter and reaching Prouville at half-past one, 
this move being followed on October 21st by a march to billets in 
Boffles and Fortel. Under command of Capt. F. B. D. Larken, a 
party moved next day to arrange billets for the Regiment at La Monte 
Joie Farm and Petit Houvin. Having passed the night in these, the 
Battalion proceeded to Ternas, leaving there at 10.30 o’clock on the 
morning of the 24th and reaching Magnicourt at 1.15 p.m. October 
25th was wet and stormy, the men resting in billets all morning, but 
parading for inspection of gas helmets in the afternoon. In somewhat 
less than four hours on October 26th the Battalion marched from 
Magnicourt to Estree Cauchie, proceeding thence on the following 
day and taking over Brigade Reserve positions in the Berthonval Area 
from the 7th Battalion, Hampshire Regiment, of the 73rd British 
Brigade. 

In the dugouts and trenches of Brigade Reserve (Berthonval 
Area) the Battalion remained throughout the balance of October, 
parties averaging 100 all ranks being supplied each day to carry 
material, repair trenches, and work on the construction of deep dug- 
outs in the support line. Before the end of the month it was announced 
that, for services during the Battles of the Somme, the Military Cross 
had been awarded to Major J. C. K. Carson and to Lieut. W. J. 
Holliday. The gallantry amongst other ranks was simultaneously 
recognized by the granting of Distinguished Conduct Medals to Acting 
Coy. Sergt.-Major A. Close, Pte. R. W. Jones, and Pte. J. Labelle; and 
Military Medals to Sergt. W. H. Miller, Sergt. W. Snideman, Sergt. 
IV. Peat, Corp. E. S. Taylor, Pte. A. L. Bagshaw, and Pte. J. Bertram. 
Promotions from the ranks were also announced at this time, H. 
Armstrong, T. G. Beagley, G. A. McLellan, M.M., and E. Cowen 
receiving commissions won during the fighting earlier in the month. 
The depleted establishment of officers was further strengthened on 
October 30th when a draft, including a number of officers who had 
recovered from wounds received during the Salient fighting of the 
previous June, reported for duty from England. Major A. T. Powell 
commanded this draft, which included Capt. Dick Worrall, Lieut. F. 
Owen, and Lieut. W. W. Pickup, all recovered from wounds, also 
Lieuts. E. A. Adams, W. A. Kirkconnell, D. M. McRae, E. G. T. 
Penny, G. S. Ashby, C. F. Falkenberg, G. Hiam, J. P. O’Connor, L. R. 
Richards, J. E. Slessor, J. L. Stevenson, and D. W. Clarkson. At 



126 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



various dates during this period drafts of other ranks were taken on 
strength to replace, at least in part, the heavy losses which the unit 
had suffered at the Somme. 

On November 3rd the Battalion advanced at 11.30 a.m. to relieve 
the 13th Canadian Battalion in front line and support trenches of the 
left sub-section, Berthonval Sector. Relief was completed at 2.20 p.m. 
and immediately parties, totalling 1 officer and 80 other ranks, began 
to build bombing and listening posts and to effect general trench 
repairs. Stronger parties carried on this work during the week the 
tour lasted, wiring and revetting also being necessary following a 
sharp bombardment by enemy trench mortars on November 4th. On 
this date Lieut.-Col. R. P. Clark, M.C., was wounded in the thigh, 
but was able to remain at duty. On November 5th several telephone 
S.O.S. tests were carried out, these demonstrating that the Battalion, 
in case of need, could count upon the field guns to open covering fire 
within 40 seconds of an alarm. On November 7th, a wet day, para- 
pets collapsed in a number of places, as did the dugout Orderly Room 
and a sap leading to the Officers’ Mess, 94 other ranks being required 
to restore these locations and protect them against further disintegra- 
tion. Despite mud, Royal Montreal patrols were active in No Man’s 
Land throughout the tour, much valuable information being gained 
and passed on to the 13th Battalion when that unit relieved at 12.45 
p.m. on November 10th. 

Following relief, the Battalion spent eight days at Estree Cauchie 
in Divisional Reserve, in the course of which new box respirators were 
issued, working parties provided, and routine training carried out. 
Light snow fell on the night of November 17th, the Battalion march- 
ing in mist and rain on the following day to relieve the 5th Canadian 
Battalion in the right sub-section, Carency Sector. Relief was com- 
pleted at 12.45 p.m. and the men settled down for another muddy tour 
in the front line. 

Mud and working parties featured the next four days, a sharp 
trench mortar action at 2.30 p.m. on November 21st relieving the 
monotony, but resulting in 2 other ranks being killed. At noon on 
November 22nd the 13th Battalion relieved and the Royal Montreal 
Regiment withdrew to huts and farm buildings at A illers-au-Bois. 
Working parties of 5 officers and 184 other ranks moved from these 
billets on each of three following days to carry material to the line. 
Then, on November 26th, the Battalion relieved the 13th Battalion 
in the trenches occupied during the previous tour, and at once pre- 
pared for an operation in connection with the blowing of two mines. 



1910 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



127 



These mines, when blown, opened a yawning cavity which, in honour 
of the troops who consolidated, was promptly named “ Montreal 
Crater 

In a Special Operation Order and in a series of memoranda 
attached, Lieut.-Col. Clark deals with the plan for consolidating the 
crater. Summarized, his orders and comments were: — 

(1) Operation: — On the 27th November, at an hour to 
be named later, the 176th Tunnelling Company will 
fire a mine. 

(2) Consolidation: — The 14th Canadian Battalion will 
consolidate the near lip. 

(3) Supports:— The 13th Canadian Battalion will place 
one company (approximately 150 all ranks) at the 
disposal of the O.C. 14th Battalion, as a battalion 
reserve. 

(4) Officers: — 

Officer in Command - - - 
Right Party ----- 

Centre Party ----- 

Left Party ------ 

Reserve Party (Right) - - 
Reserve Party (Centre) 

Reserve Party (Left) - - 

Adjutant to Major Powell - 

(5) Personnel: — 

Right Storming Party (Lieut. Cowen) : — 3 sappers, 2 
N.C.O’s. and 8 men; also 2 stretcher-bearers, 2 Lewis 
gunners, and 4 bombers. 

Centre Storming Party (Lieut. Clarkson) : — 3 sappers, 
1 N.C.O. and 10 men; also 2 stretcher-bearers. 

Left Storming Party (Lieut. McRae) : — 3 sappers, 1 
N.C.O. and 8 men; also 2 stretcher-bearers, 2 Lewis gun- 
ners, and 4 bombers. 

Reserve Storming Parties: — Same strength as party 
supported. 

(6) Action to Be Taken: — 

On the mine being exploded, parties will advance as 
rapidly as possible to the objective and take up positions 
there. 



Major A. T. Powell 
Lieut. E. Cowen 
Lieut. D. W. Clarkson 
Lieut. D. M. McRae 
Lieut. G. A. McLellan 
Lieut. J. P. O’Connor 
Lieut. C. F. Falkenberg 

Lieut. J. L. Stevenson 



128 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1916 



(7) Relief of Personnel: — 

On completion of consolidation, the post garrisons will 
be relieved from the reserve parties. 

(8) Equipment: — 

Each O.R. will carry light marching order (with 120 
rounds of small arm ammunition), one extra bandolier 
(50 rounds S.A.A.), 4 Mills grenades, 12 sandbags, and 
1 shovel. 

(9) Flank Wiring Parties: — 

Two wiring parties, under Capt. D. Worrall, will advance 
on the flanks, simultaneously with the storming parties, 
and will proceed to wire the flanks. 

(10) Advanced Battalion H.Q.: — 

Advanced Battalion H.Q. and Major A. T. Powell’s H.Q. 
will be at junction of Tanchot and Heaton Trenches. 

(11) Precautions: — 

On warning being given, all ranks must clear the area 
bounded by Uhlan - King - Gobron - Chalk Trenches to 
half-way between Tanchot and Uhlan, or continuation 
of same. Company commanders must personally see 
that this is done and advise Battalion Headquarters in 
writing. 

After debris from the explosion has fallen, positions will 
at once be reoccupied. All ranks must be warned to 
clear dugouts for explosion and to take shelter from 
falling debris immediately after. 

(12) Action if Mine does not Explode: — 

If the mine does not explode, and after a consultation 
with the Tunnelling Officer, the original posts will be 
remanned, as at present. 

(13) Emergency Party: — 

A party of 1 officer and 50 O.R. of the 13th Battalion 
will be detailed as a reserve to be ready, as a part or as 
a whole, to deal with any emergency. 

(14) Runners: — 

Two runners with each of right, centre, and left parties. 
Four runners to remain with Major Powell. All run- 
ners to wear distinguishing marks and to have absolute 
“ right of way ” over all traffic. 



1916 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



129 



(15) Trench Artillery Co-operation: — 

6 Stokes guns. 

4 Medium Trench Mortars. 

1 Heavy Trench Mortar. 

7 Rifle grenade stands. 

Rifle grenades to be used principally on flanks. 

(16) Artillery Co-operation: — 

2 Batteries (12 guns) 18-pounders. 

1 Battery (4 guns) 4.5-inch. 

Artillery to engage enemy batteries and minenwerfer. 

Forward Observing Officer to be in suitable position 

(probably Ersatz Crater) with telephone and runners. 

(17) Brigade Machine Guns: — 

To maintain a heavy barrage behind enemy lines, com- 
bined with general searching of enemy’s territory. To 
open fire when the mine is blown and Not Before. 

(18) Digging Parties: — 

Right, Centre, and Left: — Each 1 sapper, 1 N.C.O., and 
10 men. Lieut. J. W. Maynard will be in charge of these 
parties. Communication trenches are to be dug zig-zag 
fashion to crater from our present front line. 

Many further details were laid down in Lieut.-Col. Clark’s Special 
Operation Order and Memoranda, the whole furnishing an example of 
care and attention to detail which, at a later date, was used to instruct 
the new battalions of the United States Army. Some time before the 
action the Battalion took on strength from England the complete brass 
band of the 106th Nova Scotia Battalion, under Sergt. P. F. Nass. 
Owing to the weakness of the companies, a number of the bandsmen 
took part in the Crater operation and several became casualties. The 
spirit displayed by the bandsmen on this occasion hastened their 
assimilation into the Regiment, which was pleased to possess the only 
brass band in the 3rd Brigade. In turn, the bandsmen were happy at 
the good fortune which had drafted them to a unit with a proud record 
of achievement in the field. 

In preparation for the operations connected with the blowing of 
Montreal Crater, Major A. T. Powell withdrew the officers and men 
chosen for the attacking and consolidating parties to special billets 
not far from Villers-au-Bois. Here an area was taped out to repre- 
sent the trenches in the vicinity of the operation, and the probable 
topography of the new crater was clearly indicated. Time was short, 
but each party rehearsed carefully the part it would be called on to 



130 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



play. Moving forward into the line, these parties took up their 
assigned positions and awaited the explosion. This came at 9.50 p.m., 
and within a few seconds the operation was under way. Contrary to 
expectations, little debris fell and no delay ensued from this cause, 
the consolidating parties moving forward without having suffered 
losses. 

For a full minute after the explosion the enemy appeared dazed, 
then a minenwerfer came into action and white flares rose from behind 
the new crater, red distress flares following from the same locality and 
obviously calling for S.O.S. fire. Eight minutes elapsed; then a bar- 
rage fell on the crater area, preceded several seconds by a number of 
fish-tailed trench mortar torpedoes w r hich burst in the Canadian front 
line. 

Meanwhile, the consolidation parties of the Battalion had advanced 
to their respective objectives. Ten minutes after zero the parties on 
the left reached their assigned locations and found that the explosion 
had affected the positions scarcely at all. Accordingly, they set about 
improving the existing trenches and clearing them at the few points 
where parapets had fallen in. Simultaneously, the parties on the right 
reached their objectives and set to work to consolidate. Coming under 
the lash of the German barrage, all parties suffered losses, but after 
twenty minutes the shell fire slackened and after fifty minutes it 
died away. 

As soon as enemy shelling subsided, the Royal Montrealers pushed 
a bombing post into the right of the old German front line, to act as a 
covering party while consolidation of the crater continued. Between 
11 and 11.30 p.m. a party of one hundred Germans advanced across 
the open from their support line and dislodged the 14th Battalion 
bombers, who withdrew on their main body. Bombs and machine 
guns soon dispersed the enemy, who retreated in disorder, leaving a 
number of dead behind and yielding two wounded prisoners. On 
retreat of the enemy, 14th bombing posts, doubled in strength, were 
pushed forward, these dealing successfully with a group of about 9 
Germans who attempted to interrupt the consolidation parties on the 
right. 

Failing to achieve success with a small party, the enemy sent 
forward a stronger force at about 2 a.m. Retiring before this attack, 
the 14th bombers and a patrol took cover in the mine crater, while 
two machine guns opened fire and drove the enemy back. Shortly 
afterwards two lines of French wire were staked, pinned, and strung 



1916 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



131 



from the south lip of the crater outside the right T-head to Harting 
Street, and simultaneously the enemy began to consolidate his lip of 
the great hole in the ground. By 5 a.m. on November 28th working 
parties of the 14th had completed their task of making all front line 
and communication trenches passable by day and at 6 a.m. the con- 
solidating parties were relieved by garrisons under command of Lieut. 
J. W. Maynard. So ended the highly successful minor operation at 
Montreal Crater, in which the 14th inflicted casualties on the enemy 
estimated at 75, exclusive of the troops killed by the explosion, and 
suffered total losses of 11 killed and 28 wounded. 

In reporting on the operation to Lieut. -Col. Clark, Major Powell 
called to the latter’s attention the support afforded by the company 
of the 13th Battalion, under command of Capt. J. Jeffery. Major 
Powell requested the C.O. of the 14th to thank this detachment and 
reported with pleasure that the Royal Highlanders’ casualties con- 
sisted only of 1 man slightly wounded. He requested also that the 
thanks of the Royal Montreal Regiment be conveyed to the Officer 
Commanding the 1st Field Company, Canadian Engineers, whose men, 
first under command of Lieut. J. M. Jemmett and when the latter was 
wounded under Lieut. Harryet, co-operated splendidly in all phases 
of the undertaking. Continuing, Major Powell noted the gallant con- 
duct of Lieut. E. Cowen, who consolidated the posts on the right and, 
entering the enemy lines, captured two prisoners and secured valuable 
identifications. The work of Privates G. R. Jones and E. F. Penford 
was also brought to the Commanding Officer’s attention. These men, 
acting respectively as runners for Lieuts. Cowen and McRae, delivered 
messages to Major Powell’s Headquarters after having been knocked 
down repeatedly by shell fire. Corp. J. A. Magneison is mentioned in 
the report for the able handling and disposition of his Lewis gun, 
which protected the consolidation parties on the right flank, and Pte. 
W. Allard is cited for his splendid bombing of enemy parties. Others 
whose work attracted notice and whose names have been set down in 
reports on the operation included Company Sergeant-Major J. Patter- 
son, Sergt. W. Audette, Corp. W. Buckingham, Private J. A. Bertram, 
and Private A. J. Currie. Major Powell referred to the work of Sergt. 
Free, Canadian Engineers, who, at the Major’s command, organized 
a party to replace one dispersed by shell fire, led it through the enemy 
barrage, reclaimed a portion of front line trench, and supervised all 
front line consolidation. In conclusion, Major Powell mentioned the 
“ untiring support of Capt. D. Worrall, my principal assistant, and the 
dutiful conduct of all other officers associated in the enterprise ”. 



132 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1916 



Following the operation at Montreal Crater, the 14th Battalion 
held the front line for two days, handing over to the 13th Battalion 
at 12.30 p.xn. on November 30th and moving back to Hospital Corner 
in Brigade Support. Previous to relief troops occupying the posts in 
the crater made every effort to locate and rescue a number of Germans 
who, from tapping noises heard repeatedly, were buried somewhere, 
probably in an old dugout, under the tons of mud and debris which 
the explosion had cast up. Parties strove to place the sounds and had 
traced them to a certain small area when enemy fire forced all attempt 
at rescue to be abandoned. Gradually the tapping grew fainter and 
finally ceased. Doubtless the imprisoned Germans died of thirst, 
starvation, and want of air. 

From November 30th until December 5th the Royal Montreal 
Regiment lay in Brigade Support, moving on the latter date to Divi- 
sional Reserve at Estree Cauchie and proceeding thence on December 
12th to relieve the 5th Canadian Battalion in the left sub-section, 
Borthonval Sector, of the front line. At this time the Battalion front 
line strength was made up of 26 officers, 430 bayonets, 70 machine 
gunners, 5 bombers, 24 signallers, 17 stretcher-bearers, and 18 Intelli- 
gence men, or 590 in all. This total was in turn divided amongst the 
companies as follows: — No. 1 Coy., 5 officers and 109 other ranks; 
No. 2 Coy., 5 officers and 110 other ranks; No. 3 Coy., 4 officers and 
114 other ranks; No. 4 Coy., 4 officers and 151 other ranks; Headquar- 
ters, 8 officers and 80 other ranks. 

Throughout the four-day tour that followed patrols and working 
parties of the Battalion were active. On December 14th the enemy 
bombarded heavily, approximately 104 large calibre shells falling in 
the front and support lines between the hours of 3 and 4 p.m. Retalia- 
tion for this fire was effected by Canadian Stokes guns and trench 
mortars, which damaged the enemy’s parapets and wire. At 2.10 p.m. 
on December 16th the Royal Montrealers handed over the front to 
the 13th Royal Highlanders and withdrew to Brigade Reserve in Ber- 
thonval Wood, moving to Estree Cauchie on December 21st and 
marching on the following day, in company with the other battalions 
of the 3rd Brigade, to rest billets in Bruay. 

At Bruay, the Battalion passed Christmas and welcomed the New 
Year. The Officers’ Mess and the Orderly Room were situated respec- 
tively at 69 and 71 Rue des Tombelles, and the men were comfortably 
billeted in the houses and buildings of the town. Routine training 
was carried out each day and on Christmas all who so desired were 



1917 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



133 



given an opportunity to partake of Holy Communion, or attend the 
celebration of Mass. No parades were held and the holiday was 
marked by a special dinner for the men, the bill of fare including a 
few unusual items such as port wine and cigars. In the evening the 
officers held a memorable dinner in the principal local hotel. Canon 
Scott, one-time Protestant Chaplain of the Regiment, was the guest 
of honour and the board was also graced by the presence of Hon. Capt. 
de la Taille, a member of the Jesuit Order and a gentleman of old 
France, who, though he had never set foot in Canada, had joined the 
Canadian forces and become attached as Chaplain to the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment after the Battles of the Somme. For several months he 
remained with the Battalion, ministering unostentatiously, but con- 
scientiously and generously, to the spiritual and temporal needs of 
the men, who regretted greatly when he was called to service with 
another unit. He and Canon Scott contributed much to the cheer 
and good-fellowship of the Christmas dinner, the latter concealing 
with a brave heart the deep sorrow recently caused by the death in 
action of a beloved son. An announcement which pleased everyone 
stated that, for conspicuous gallantry at the blowing of Montreal 
Crater on November 27th, Lieut. Edwin Cowen had been awarded 
the Military Cross, and that the Military Medal had been granted to 
Private W. Allard and Private J. A. Magneison. 



II 

For over a fortnight after New Year’s Day, 1917, the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment remained at Bruay, carrying out the customary training 
of a battalion in reserve and preparing for further tours in the line. 
On January 15th Lieut.-Col. R. P. Clark, M.C., relinquished command 
of the Battalion which was assumed by Major Gault McCombe, an 
original officer of the unit, who, during the period of Lieut.-Col. 
Clark’s leadership, had served as Second-in-Command. On leaving 
the Royal Montreal Regiment, Lieut.-Col. Clark took command of 
the 2nd Canadian Battalion and, later, rose to command the 2nd 
Brigade of Canadian Infantry. For his services with the 14th Bat- 
talion he was awarded the D.S.O. and mentioned in despatches. 
Recognition of his later sendees was afforded when he was appointed 
a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, and men- 
tioned in despatches four times. Through all the vicissitudes of his 
military career he maintained touch with the officers who had served 



134 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



under him during the Salient and Somme Battles of 1916 and never 
failed to express satisfaction when news reached him that the 14th 
was doing well. Conversely, officers and men of the R.M.R. rejoiced 
as honours and recognitions fell to his lot. Shortly after Lieut.-Col. 
Clark’s departure Capt. J. K. Nesbitt, the Battalion Machine Gun 
Officer, left to take over duties, first in England and later with the 
North Russia Expeditionary Force. For services rendered against 
the Bolsheviks, Capt. Nesbitt was awarded the Military Cross. 

Two days after Major Gault McCombe succeeded Lieut.-Col. R. P. 
Clark in command of the Royal Montreal Regiment, the unit marched 
from Bruay to Bully Grenay. At 8 o’clock on the following morning 
the Battalion commenced relief of the 18th Canadian Battalion, 2nd 
Canadian Division, in the left sub-section, Calonne Sector, No. 1 Coy. 
occupying trenches from the Double Crassier to Treize Alley; No. 2 
Coy. taking over the front from Treize Alley to Edgware Road; No. 3 
Coy. moving into close support; and No. 4 Coy. being held in reserve. 
Battalion Headquarters was situated at South Maroc. On the Double 
Crassier, which was the name given to two huge slag heaps, the oppos- 
ing trenches were but 10 yards apart and conversation from the Ger- 
man line, or rather the murmur of voices, was frequently audible. The 
extreme left post of the 14th Battalion position, commanded at differ- 
ent times during the tour by Lieuts. H. Armstrong, G. A. McLellan, 
and J. E. Slessor, connected up with the extreme right post of the 2nd 
Battalion, The Prince of Wales’s Leinster Regiment (Royal Cana- 
dians) whose officers and signallers shared a dugout with the Royal 
Montrealers. The Leinsters had participated in the training of the 
14th Battalion in front of Armentieres in 1915 and, alone of Imperial 
units, bore the title “ Canadian ”, therefore they were interested to 
find themselves on the flank of a Dominion unit, and doubly so when 
they recognized a battalion they had trained. 

For seven days the Battalion remained in the front line, the men 
enjoying the clear, cold weather, but on the alert, as the prevailing 
wind was favourable for the use of enemy gas. No gas attack took 
place, the only losses suffered being caused by shell fire, which killed 
one man and wounded two employed on a working party. At the 
conclusion of the tour the Battalion was relieved by the 13th Battalion 
and moved back to Brigade Support in the village of Calonne, where 
parties of 1 1 officers anti 448 other ranks assembled each day for work 
on the Calonne and Maroc defences. On January 30th, following a 
light fall of snow, the 14th Battalion relieved the 13th Battalion in 
the front line. 



1917 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



135 



Throughout February the Battalion carried out successive tours in 
the front line (Calonne Sector), in Brigade Reserve at Bully Grenay, 
and Brigade Support at Calonne. Working parties were ordered fre- 
quently, irrespective of whether the Battalion was in the line or 
reserve, these increasing in strength and frequency when, midway 
through the month, a period of frosty weather ended. Under the rays 
of a warm sun, followed by slashing rain, parapets softened, and trench 
bottoms, formerly hard as rock, melted into thigh-deep morasses of 
clinging mud. Only the labour of every available man for hours at a 
time preserved the trench system from disintegration. 

In February the Battalion occupied the front line for a total of 16 
days. All tours were “ normal ”, the artillery on both sides firing fre- 
quently and trench mortars battering down parapets with annoying 
persistence. On the 1st of the month the Battalion suffered 11 casual- 
ties, no day’s total surpassing this figure, but a nasty loss occurring 
on February 25th when the enemy raided No. 2 Coy. Under cover of 
darkness a party penetrated the Canadian wire by way of a gap cut 
by trench mortars. With skill the raiders evaded the 14th listening 
posts and surprised the front line, killing two men, wounding six, and 
vanishing with two wounded prisoners, Privates R. H. Green and C. J. 
Twamley, when attacked by a party organized and led by Lieut. 
D. Woodward. The enterprise and daring of the Germans on this 
occasion confirmed reports that the enemy had trained raid specialists. 
Certainly the operation reflected credit on those who planned it and 
on the party which carried it out. Private Green, whom the enemy 
captured, died as a prisoner of war and Private Twamley died, after 
repatriation, in December, 1918. 

Having been raided, the 14th set to work to return the compliment. 
On February 27th Major A. T. Powell, commanding during the tem- 
porary absence of Lieut.-Col. McCombe, issued Special Operation 
Order No. 122, with instructions for the proposed retaliation. In 
brief, this order stated: — 

(1) General: — The 14th and 15th Battalions will raid 
the enemy trenches on the night of February 28th- 
March 1st. The object of the raid is to damage 
enemy trenches, inflict loss, and capture prisoners. 
The 14th Battalion party will consist of 3 officers, 
77 other ranks, and 6 scouts. 

(2) Zero: — Zero hour will be 2 a.m. The limit allowed 
in enemy trenches is 15 minutes after zero. 



136 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



(3) Code: — “Hussars” — Raid will take place. 

“ Dragoons ” — Raid postponed 24 hours. 

(4) Precautions: — Company commanders will take all 
necessary precautions to avoid casualties in the 
event of enemy retaliation. All killed or wounded 
must be brought in. Officers and other ranks are 
to be stripped entirely of identifications, particularly 
cap badges, numerals, sleeve patches, identity discs, 
pay books, buttons, letters, etc. 

(5) Marking of Boundary: — The right company com- 
mander will detail a reliable N.C.O. to take up 
position inside our trench at our northernmost tape. 
This N.C.O. will be provided with a watch which 
will be synchronized at Advanced Headquarters at 
1.45 a.m. At 2.15 a.m. this N.C.O. will fire a suc- 
cession of Very lights towards our support line in a 
north-westerly direction. Major D. Worrall will 
personally show this N.C.O. the direction in which 
he is to fire. The object of this is plainly to mark 
our boundary. 

(6) Recall: — The signal for the raiders to return will 
be the sounding of Strombos horns, the blowing of 
a bugle, and the burning of ground flares on enemy 
parapet. 

(7) Signals for Brigade Machine Guns: — A small red 
light fired in a northerly direction from the Double 
Crassier will serve as a local Brigade Machine Gun 
signal to open fire. Later two red lights from the 
same position will signal the cease fire. 

(8) Conclusion: — The officer on duty of No. 3 Coy. will 
assist in avoiding congestion in the front line after 
the raiders have returned. 

(9) Co-operation: — The Canadian Corps Heavy Artil- 
lery, 4 batteries of 18-pounders, Stokes guns, and 
trench mortars will co-operate. 

Following the appearance of the above order, Major Dick Worrall 
was placed in command of the raid and arranged the details, the code 
word “ Dragoons ” notifying all concerned that the raid had been 
postponed until the night of March lst/2nd. Between the hours of 
11 p.m. on March 1st and 1 a.m. on March 2nd, scouts of the 14th 



1917 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



137 



Battalion reconnoitred in No Man’s Land and reported all clear. 
Soon after their return the raid began. 

In order to avoid confusion three parties of raiders will be fol- 
lowed individually. At 1.40 a.m. No. 1 party (Lieut. D. M. McRae 
and 25 other ranks) approached to within forty yards of the German 
line, the barrage being so perfectly placed that this move was accom- 
panied by little danger. At 2 a.m. (zero) the barrage lifted to the 
enemy support line and No. 1 Party commenced operations, “A” 
Group, led by Sergt. Snow, bombing straight along the German para- 
pet. Though wounded in the wrist, Sergt. Snow, an original member 
of the Battalion, continued to lead his men until their share in the 
operation had been completed. Meanwhile Corp. Price, leading “ B ” 
Group, jumped onto the enemy parapet and down into the trench 
where he was instantly killed by a shot from a German rifle. Seeing 
what had happened, Lieut. D. M. McRae leaped into the trench, 
grappled with the Hun who had fired, and took him prisoner. Moving 
along the trench “ B ” Group killed four Germans with bombs and 
drove the remainder of a small party back tow'ards the support line. 
Continuing, “ B ” Group came to a dugout whence one German 
emerged and was taken prisoner. Other Germans paid no attention 
to shouted demands for surrender and were killed when the dugout 
was wrecked with explosive. Further along the trench another dugout 
was bombed with Mills grenades, and still another, containing a party 
of the enemy, was completely destroyed by a Stokes bomb on a four- 
second fuse. Following the destruction of these dugouts, Lieut. 
McRae, whose party had lost 1 killed and 5 wounded, withdrew his 
forces and awmited the signal to return to the Canadian line. 

At zero No. 2 Party (Lieut. Pitcher and 24 other ranks) moved 
forw r ard and entered the enemy line, “ J ” Group soon encountering a 
number of the enemy, two of w r hom were killed by bombs and two 
captured. Meanwhile, “ H ” and “ G ” Groups worked their w r ay along 
the parapet, encountering opposition which caused delay at one point, 
but succeeding in killing one German and capturing two. Further 
along the trench this party destroyed a dugout with a number of the 
enemy inside. A few moments later two Germans were encountered, 
one of them wearing a large red cross on his sleeve. This individual 
pointed a revolver and cried “Hands up! ” in English. He and his 
companion were thereupon killed by a bomb and rifle fire. Following 
this incident, the raiders reached another dugout and invited the occu- 
pants to surrender. Much shouting ensued, but, no Germans appear- 
ing, a mobile charge was exploded and the dugout destroyed. Lieut. 



138 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



Pitcher, who led No. 2 Party successfully despite a wound in the left 
arm, now decided to withdraw along the trench, as time for the con- 
clusion of the raid was rapidly approaching. During the withdrawal 
a German was found hiding on the bottom of a trench. This indivi- 
dual was added to the party’s “ bag ” and conducted as a prisoner to 
the 14th lines. 

When Nos. 1 and 2 Parties advanced to carry out the tasks 
assigned to them, No. 3 Party (Lieut. Beagley, 16 other ranks, plus 
two Lewis guns and crews) moved into position to block Okoweg Com- 
munication Trench and check any German reinforcements which might 
be sent to the garrison in the front line. This party met no resistance 
and suffered but one slight casualty. On the sounding of the Strombos 
horns, the party withdrew as ordered. 

In compiling his report on the raid, Major Dick Worrall notes 
certain aspects which are of interest. The morale of the Germans he 
considered “good”; their trenches were “ dry, bath-matted, and 
revetted ”, but damaged by the Canadian artillery fire. The barrage 
for the raid was excellent, both as to timing and placement; but Major 
Worrall comments that the recall signals were lost amid the din and 
confusion of bombing and rifle fire, the bugle being heard but faintly 
and the Strombos horns, in many cases, not at all. To his report the 
commander of the raid attaches the following time-table of events as 
reported at Raid Headquarters: — 



1.04 a.m. 
1.40 a.m. 
1.53 a.m. 
1.56 a.m. 
1.59 a.m. 

2.04 a.m. 
2.06 a.m. 

2.08 a.m. 

2.09 a.m. 
2.18 a.m. 

2.20 a.m. 

2.21 a.m. 

2.23 a.m. 

2.24 a.m. 

2.25 a.m. 
2.28 a.m. 
2.36 a.m. 



Patrol reports wire cut. 

Raiding Party in position. 

Barrage starts. 

One green rocket from enemy line. 

One red rocket from enemy line. 

All going well. 

Bombing going on in enemy lines. 

One bright light from enemy line. 

One prisoner brought in. 

First enemy shell near our front line. 
Retaliation requested by O.C. Crassier. 
Five more prisoners. 

Lieut. Pitcher reports in slightly wounded. 
Nos. 1 and 2 Parties report in. 

Enemy retaliation on our front line. 

Lieut. Beagley and No. 3 Party report in. 
Enemy fire has ceased. 



1917 



MONTREAL CRATER AND RAIDS 



139 



2.38 a.m. O.C. Crassier reports no casualties. 

2.39 a.m. Right front line company reports all O.K. 

2.40 a.m. Left front line company reports all O.K. 

3.15 a.m. Advanced Headquarters closed. 

Following the successful raid, the Batalion was relieved at 8.30 
o’clock on the evening of March 4th by the 8th Battalion, Royal West 
Kent Regiment, Headquarters and the companies proceeding inde- 
pendently to billets in unoccupied houses in Bully Grenay. At 10 a.m. 
on March 5th the Battalion marched from Bully Grenay, passing 
through the towns of Hersin and Barlin and reaching Haillicourt at 
half-past twelve. Marching again three days later, the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment swung through Houdain, Gauchin Legal, Estree Cau- 
chie, and Quatre Vents and billeted for the night in Cambligneul. On 
the 9th, at noon, the Regiment left Cambligneul, marched through 
Camblain l’Abbe, and at 4 o’clock reached its destination at huts in 
the Bois des Alleux. 

Nine days were spent in this position and on the 18th of the month 
the Battalion relieved the 15th Canadian Battalion in Brigade Reserve 
at Maison Blanche, three of the companies occupying dugouts and one 
being billeted in a large cave. From Maison Blanche working parties 
of 5 officers and more than 500 men were supplied on each of the five 
days that followed, the personnel of these carrying material, cleaning 
trenches, and constructing dugouts. Several casualties were inflicted 
on these parties and one man was killed by the collapse of a dressing 
station in Elbe Trench. All ranks while at w T ork were thrilled by the 
fight being waged for control of the air. As the infantry toiled at 
their unromantic tasks, far above their heads in the blue the winged 
legions of England and Germany dipped, swooped, and struck, British 
pilots fighting to guard the secrets of the Vimy Area and the Germans 
striving desperately to discover what the British sought to hide. On 
March 21st a red biplane defeated a British plane which fell at the 
junction of Claudot and Bentata Trenches, about 400 yards from 14th 
Headquarters. Other British losses occurred from time to time, but 
the defence was splendidly maintained. Knowing how secrecy w T ould 
aid the attack which the British Army was mounting, officers and men 
of the 14th were cheered tremendously when attacking planes crashed 
to earth and were correspondingly depressed when crack German 
pilots, distinguished by their red planes, scored a victory. 

At 6.30 p.m. on March 24th the Royal Montreal Regiment com- 
menced relief of the 15th Canadian Battalion in the front line, Thelus 



140 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



Sector, completing the operation at 10.15 p.m. without casualties. 
British artillery and trench mortars were active on the days that 
followed. The heavy guns shelled the German communications and 
ammunition dumps, and the field guns wrought havoc in the enemy’s 
line and tore his defensive wire. This activity provoked retaliation, 
Douai, Elbe, and Sapper Trenches in the Royal Montrealers’ area 
being subjected to several heavy bombardments and the whole front 
receiving more than a normal amount of shell fire. Special precau- 
tion against this fire was ordered with the result that casualties were 
negligible. 

Early on the morning of March 29th a raiding party of the 14th 
Battalion, under Lieut. D. M. McRae, advanced against the enemy 
line, in conjunction with a special party of the 13th Battalion. Zero 
was at 3 o’clock and seven minutes before this hour the Canadian 
artillery, machine guns, and Stokes guns opened fire. At 3 o’clock an 
orange rain rocket rose from the German line, followed immediately 
by a green light which split into several balls of fire. These signals, 
and others set off in rapid succession, brought a barrage of 5.9-inch, 
4.1 -inch, and 77 mm. shells from the direction of Thelus, Bois 
Carre, and Farbus Wood. This barrage hampered the 14th Battalion 
party, which also encountered heavy wire. Lieuts. McRae and E. G. 
T. Penny, with a number of their men, penetrated the wire and entered 
the German line. No enemy was found, but Sergt Weir was killed 
before the raiders withdrew. The body they brought back with them 
to their own lines. At the point where the 13th Battalion attacked, 
entry into the German line was effected and a number of the enemy 
killed, the raiders escaping with a loss of but two men wounded. On 
the night following this operation the 14th Battalion was relieved by 
the 4th Canadian Battalion and proceeded to le Pendu Huts in Divi- 
sional Reserve. 



CHAPTER XII 



THE TAKING OF VIMY RIDGE 

The Germans laugh on Vimy Ridge 
Where once the children played, 

And on the slopes of Vimy Ridge, 

The bloody slopes of Vimy Ridge, 

The sons of France are laid. 

But soon, but soon, on Vimy Ridge 
Courage shall answer craft: 

Spring on the slopes of Vimy Ridge 
A sweeter sound shall waft. 

Children shall play on Vimy Ridge 
Where once the Germans laughed. 

— M. B. in the “Westminster Gazette”. 

I 

I N conjunction with the Third Army, the Canadian Corps will 
take the Vimy Ridge Heading an operation order in April, 
1917, this sentence informed the Canadian divisions of the 
task immediately before them. Momentarily, its audacity left its 
readers breathless, for in 1915 Germany had hurled back from the 
Ridge French troops of the old first line regiments, who had failed 
only because the task was beyond what flesh and blood could accom- 
plish. Since that time the Ridge had been strengthened until the 
enemy boasted that its capture was beyond the power of any troops 
on earth. Months of study, however, led Sir Douglas Haig and Sir 
Julian Byng to believe that the Germans were wrong. Granted ade- 
quate artillery preparation, well-organized counter-battery fire at 
zero, and determined attacking troops, trained to the last notch of 
efficiency, they felt that the Ridge could be wrested from the enemy’s 
grasp. This confidence was justified on April 9th, 1917, when the 
Canadian Corps took the Ridge in a single day’s fighting. 

Certain features of the capture of Vimy Ridge cause the engage- 
ment to rank amongst the important battles of 1917. In the first 
place it is probable that no operation had ever been more carefully 
rehearsed. Over a special area, prepared from aerial photographs and 
laid out to represent the German positions in every particular, the 
assaulting battalions carried out again and again the moves that would 
be demanded on the day of battle. So perfectly were the enemy posi- 
tions reproduced that troops learned by heart the position of trenches, 
communication trenches, and supply dumps, and battalion command- 



142 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



ers in many cases were able to select the exact dugout, far behind the 
German lines, which would serve as their battle headquarters. The 
photographs on which the taped reproduction of the German front was 
based were supplied by the Royal Flying Corps, which also photo- 
graphed scores of German battery positions. Each of these was care- 
fully located on the maps at Corps Headquarters and arrangements 
made to neutralize it by counter-battery fire at zero. This counter- 
battery organization proved effective and was a weighty factor in the 
Corps’ success. Foresight in training Canadian crews to operate 
German field guns also met with appropriate reward, a number of 
captured German guns, formed into “ Nos. 1, 2, and 3 Pan-Germanic 
Groups, Canadian Artillery ”, coming into action at a critical moment 
and contributing materially to the British victory. 

By coincidence, the date chosen for the assault on Vimy Ridge was 
the birthday of Erich von Ludendorff, Quartermaster-General of the 
German Army, and believed by many to have been the “ brains ” of 
the whole Teutonic military confederation. In his memoirs, Gen. 
Ludendorff admits that the British capture of Vimy “ threw all his 
calculations to the winds ”, and his diary reveals that on the night of 
the 9th he felt “ deeply depressed ”. His memoirs also admit that the 
Canadian attack on Vimy, and the simultaneous drive of British divi- 
sions to the south, puzzled him sorely. Vimy was valuable to the 
British throughout the remainder of 1917, and invaluable in 1918, 
nevertheless, he concluded from failure to continue the battle after 
initial success that some event beyond the broad reach of his intelli- 
gence had adversely affected the plan of action as originally conceived. 
This inference reveals the mind of a trained soldier. The capture of 
Vimy, and the British attack astride the Scarpe, represented all that 
had been retained of a comprehensive plan of action worked out by 
General Joffre and Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig in the autumn of 
1916. When General Nivelle took command of the French Armies, 
he rejected the plan which Joffre and Haig had agreed upon and sub- 
stituted his project for a smashing, decisive blow on the Aisne. He 
even opposed the attack on Vimy Ridge, and officers of his staff when 
shown the plan of action at First Army Headquarters expressed fear 
that the Canadians would fail dismally. Fortunately, such was not 
the case. On the contrary, when Nivelle’s offensive had been launched 
and shattered, the capture of Vimy shone as the one brilliant achieve- 
ment in a dark period of disaster. 

When the French attack failed, Sir Douglas Haig ceased opera- 
tions on the Vimy front and concentrated his effort in Flanders. 



1917 



TAKING VIMY RIDGE 



143 



Recognizing the tactical brilliancy of the ^ imy success, but unaware, 
fortunately, of many circumstances attending the failure on the Aisne, 
Ludendorff is found wondering whether the British attack had any 
strategic purpose. It had; but the change from the Joffre-Haig to the 
Nivelle plan, and the collapse of the new plan when tested, ren- 
dered strategic objectives unattainable. Tactically, capture of the 
Ridge remained, and will always remain, one of the striking episodes 
of the war. 

II 

During the first four days of April, 1917, the 14th Battalion was 
stationed at le Pendu Huts in Divisional Reserve. From this location 
the Battalion on two occasions marched to Estree Cauchie to rehearse 
with other battalions of the 3rd Brigade the coming attack on Vimy 
Ridge. The fact that the four divisions of the Canadian Corps were 
for the first time attacking side by side inspired confidence, which 
increased as the troops observed the vast stores of ammunition in the 
area, the success of British pilots in the air, and the painstaking atten- 
tion being given to all preliminaries. At Estree Cauchie the men 
entered into the enthusiastic spirit of the Brigade rehearsals, studied 
the area conscientiously, and strove mightily to perfect themselves in 
their respective parts. Care was taken lest troops, eager to practice 
their own tasks, should neglect what was taking place around them. 
In the assault casualties would force troops to assume duties origin- 
ally assigned to others. Accordingly, parties were trained in their 
individual tasks, but the general plan was never lost to sight. 

So far as the 1st Canadian Division was concerned, the plan of the 
operation called for an assault on that part of the Ridge lying'S. and 
S.E. of Thelus. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade was given two 
objectives, named respectively the Black Line, or Zwolfer Weg, and 
the Red Line, or Swischen Stellung. On the right flank was the 2nd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade and on the left the 4th Canadian Infantry 
Brigade. The assault of the 3rd Brigade was ordered with three bat- 
talions in line, the 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders, under Lieut. - 
Col. C. E. Bent, on the right; the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 
Regiment, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe, in the centre; 
and the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, led by Lieut.-Col. C. W. 
Peck, on the left. In close support was the 13th Battalion, Royal 
Highlanders of Canada, under Lieut.-Col. G. E. McCuaig. 

On April 5th the 14th Battalion moved forward to Maison Blanche, 
completing occupation at midnight and moving forward again on the 



1 14 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



following day into front line trenches (Thelus Sector) with Head- 
quarters in Bentata Tunnel. This vast cavern, electrically lighted and 
provided with side chambers and passages, was used to shelter troops 
during assembly for the Yimy attack. April 8th was the date chosen 
for the battle, but when the calendar showed that Easter fell on this 
day April 9th was substituted and the troops ordered to attack at 
5.30 a.m. 

Final instructions to the 14th Battalion were issued by Lieut. J. 
W. Maynard, Acting Adjutant, under date of April 3rd. In these 
orders details of the assembly, the advance to the Black Line, the 
reform after the capture of the Black Line, and the assault on the 
Red Line were enumerated. Following capture of the Red Line, other 
troops were to pass through and drive the attack forward. The 14th 
would then consolidate and withdraw to join the 13th as Divisional 
Reserve. 

Special attention of all ranks of the Battalion was called to the 
fact that troops would attack exactly at zero and not wait for the 
barrage to lift from the German front line trenches at zero plus 3 
minutes. More than three minutes would be consumed in crossing No 
Man’s Land and it was desirable to give the enemy little time to come 
up from his dugouts and open fire. Similarly, following capture of 
the Black Line, troops of the 3rd attacking wave were ordered to 
work forward to within 60 yards of the barrage, which from zero plus 
38 minutes to zero plus 75 minutes was to stand on a position 200 
yards east of the Black Line. Officers were instructed to see to it, at 
this stage, that each wave moved forward in conformation with the 
corresponding wave of the 16th Battalion on the left flank. A slight 
bend in the position to be occupied by the Canadian Scottish made 
this co-ordination a matter for careful attention. 

For the battle each man of the 14th Battalion was ordered to carry 
rifle, complete equipment less pack, 120 rounds of small arm ammu- 
nition, 2 Mills bombs, 5 sandbags, 48 hours’ rations, unexpended por- 
tion of current ration, waterproof sheet, box respirator (worn at the 
alert), smoke helmet, goggles, 1 ground flare, and filled water bottle. 
In the case of bombers, rifle grenadiers, Lewis gunners, and runners, 
small arm ammunition was reduced to 50 rounds to permit the carry- 
ing of special equipment, or to aid rapid movement. \\ arrant officers 
and N.C.O’s. were instructed to carry rifles with fixed bayonets, and 
officers were ordered to equip themselves with revolvers and Very 
signalling pistols. No maps of the British trenches and no papers of 
value to the enemy were to be carried by officers or men. All ranks 



1917 



TAKING VIMY RIDGE 



145 



were ordered to wear steel helmets, and each half of the Battalion was 
instructed to carry forward 33 picks and 67 shovels. 

All night on April 8th the roads in the neighbourhood of Vimy 
Ridge echoed to the tramp of marching feet as the battalions of the 
Canadian divisions and the British divisions on the flank moved for- 
ward to the assembly. That the enemy knew an attack was contem- 
plated is certain, for such vast scale preparations could not be entirely 
hid; that he suspected the day and hour is improbable, for, with minor 
exceptions, thousands of troops assembled without drawing appre- 
ciable shell fire. All was in readiness, therefore, when at 5.30 o’clock 
on the cold, blustery morning of April 9th, the guns opened fire and 
the infantry, in the half light of dawn, plodded forward behind the 
first British “ creeping barrage ” of the war, with a determination and 
relentlessness which carried them to decisive victory. 

While the battalions in reserve were marching forward on the 
night of April 8th, the 14th Battalion moved into jumping-off trenches, 
completing occupation of these at 3.50 a.m. and notifying Brigade 
that the unit was ready for zero. Sharp at 5.30 a.m. the attacking 
waves of the Regiment stepped over the parapet and advanced towards 
the German front line, which at the moment was suffering the destroy- 
ing wrath of a marvellously placed barrage. In the van of the Bat- 
talion’s attack were Nos. 3 and 4 Companies, commanded respectively 
by Capt. W. W. Pickup and Major W. J. Holliday, M.C., the former 
on the right and No. 4 on the left. Both companies advanced in two 
waves, with Nos. 1 and 2 Companies supplying support and mopping 
up as German territory was captured. 

Driving through the German front line, No. 3 Company brushed 
aside such opposition as the garrison afforded and advanced against 
a trench known as Eisener Kreuz Weg. Here the defending Bavarian 
troops fought gallantly, holding back the Canadian advance until 
killed or wounded by bomb or bayonet. In the hand to hand fighting 
the Royal Montrealers soon established superiority, but the enemy, by 
clever use of his machine guns, forced payment for the ground torn 
from his grasp. Before the capture of Eisener Kreuz Weg was accom- 
plished Capt. W. W. Pickup and Lieut. H. B. Symonds had fallen, 
together with a number of N.C.O’s. and men. In the deaths of Capt. 
Pickup and Lieut. Symonds No. 3 Coy. and the Battalion suffered a 
severe loss, for the former was an experienced officer who had recov- 
ered from wounds received in the summer of the previous year, and 
Lieut, Symonds, an original member of the Battalion, had won a com- 
mission after courageous service in the ranks. 



14G THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 

Meanwhile No. 4 Coy. on the left had also suffered appreciably 
and Major W. J. Holliday, M.C., who had won distinction at Kenora 
Trench in September of the previous year, had fallen mortally wound- 
ed. Lieut. Francesco Gidony had also been severely wounded and 
could no longer lead his men in action. Major Holliday and Lieut. 
Gidony reached hospital and fought hard for life, but in each case 
the odds proved too high, the company commander dying on April 
16th and his subaltern twenty-four hours later. 

In spite of the setback caused by the casualties to officers and a 
high proportion of N.C.O’s., the attack of Nos. 3 and 4 Companies 
drove forward, the men displaying a praiseworthy desire to let noth- 
ing interfere with the carrying-out of the pre-arranged schedule. On 
the right, where the attack of the Battalion joined with that of the 
15th Battalion, German machine gun No. 10294 shot down many men 
of both units. Realizing how serious an obstacle this gun presented, 
Lieut. B. F. Davidson organized and led an attack against it. Game 
to the last, the gun crew met the Canadian assault with a shower of 
bombs, which dropped several of the Royal Montrealers in their 
tracks. Lieut. Davidson, however, penetrated the grenade barrage, 
shot the crew, and put the gun out of action. 

On the left Company Sergeant-Major J. F. Hurley noticed a 
machine gun which, similarly, threatened to hold up the Royal Mont- 
real advance. At the moment no assistance was available, so Hurley 
attacked the gun single-handed. Taking advantage of an instant 
when the attention of the crew was concentrated elsewhere, Hurley 
charged, bayoneted three Germans, and captured the gun. By this act 
he cleared the Regiment’s path and saved many casualties. 

Meanwhile stubborn fighting had carried Eisener Kreuz Weg, but 
not before machine guns firing from the Red Line had inflicted sharp 
losses, among the killed being Lieuts. L. B. Richards and J. L. Steven- 
son, who had displayed marked courage and devotion to duty. Capt, 
H. E. Banks, who had rejoined the Battalion after recovering from 
wounds received at the Somme, was wounded at this time, as was 
Lieut. N. McLeod, who had suffered wounds on two previous occa- 
sions and had been commissioned in recognition of service in the 
ranks. Lieut. E. G. T. Penny was also wounded, but was able to 
remain at duty. 

Once the obstacle presented by Eisener Kreuz Weg had been sur- 
mounted, the attack of the Royal Montreal Regiment swept forward 
towards the 1st objective, the Black Line. Simultaneously, the 15th 
and 16th Battalions on the flanks overcame the difficulties on their 




Vimy Ridge - April ISI7 



1917 



TAKING VIM V RIDGE 



147 



respective fronts and flung their attacking waves forward. Liaison 
between the three battalions was excellent, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd 
waves conforming remarkably and maintaining a unity of action 
which added greatly to their strength. Opposition decreased at this 
stage of the engagement and the Black Line was captured without 
serious difficulty, though some bombing was required to subdue final 
resistance. In one dugout, afterwards used as Battalion Headquar- 
ters, Lieut. T. Hodgson and a party of Regimental Scouts captured 
26 prisoners. 

Halting in the Black Line in accordance with orders, the 14th 
Battalion reformed for the second stage of the battle, the 3rd wave 
passing through the first two waves and preparing to advance against 
the Red objective. Meanwhile, machine gun posts were pushed for- 
ward and the Black Line consolidated against counter-attack. For 
nearly half an hour the men of the 14th halted, while the British 
barrage stood steadily on a line 200 yards to the east. Redisposi- 
tions having been effected, the 3rd wave, now become the 1st, advanced 
towards the barrage, which lifted at 6.55 a.m. and permitted an assault 
on the final objective. 

The effect of the barrage in the area beyond the Black Line was 
marked, the ground being ripped and torn and the German trenches 
utterly demolished. Garrisons in many cases had been wiped out; 
elsewhere individuals remained alive, but too dazed to offer resistance. 
Attacking schedules were accordingly maintained, and the Red objec- 
tive was captured at 7.10 a.m. 

In the fighting at Eisener Kreuz Weg, at the Black Line, and 
during the final sweep forward to the Red Line, the bearing and 
behaviour of officers and men reflected credit on the Regiment’s disci- 
pline and training. Able leadership was displayed by many of the 
junior officers, the work of Lieuts. T. Hodgson, E. G. T. Penny, D. 
Woodward, E. A. Adams, and N. M. Cowell being conspicuous. 
Company Sergeant-Major A. Close also showed capacity which 
marked him for early promotion, as did Sergts. J. R. McKinnon and 
R. J. Allan. Corp. J. H. Foley led his section with courage and ability, 
and Lance-Corporals W. Broughton, G. H. MacDonald, and J. Wil- 
liams demonstrated soldierly qualities and quick appreciation of the 
situations that arose. In overcoming the resistance of enemy machine 
guns and in the hand to hand fighting at Eisener Kreuz Weg, Corp. 
J. A. Bertram and Privates J. Melvin, H. Hetu, R. Levis, F. Thompson, 
J. E. Muttart, G. E. Daughters, and P. G. Rumball displayed courage 
and gallantry of the highest order. 



148 



THE KOVAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



With the capture of the Red Line the active part of the 3rd Brigade 
in the Battle of Vimy Ridge was brought to a close. All four bat- 
talions of the Brigade had suffered losses, but in no case were these 
out of proportion when considered in relation with the striking nature 
of the Brigade’s success. In the Royal Montreal Regiment 6 officers 
were killed, or fatally wounded, mostly by machine gun fire; and three 
officers were wounded. Amongst the other ranks casualties totalled 
265, of whom 92 were killed and 173 wounded. 

When the 3rd Brigade halted in the Red Line, troops of the 1st 
Canadian Infantry Brigade moved up and prepared to carry the 
assault forward. Snow and rain fell at intervals and a cold wind chilled 
the troops, but victory was in the air and the cold was disregarded. 
At 9.55 a.m. the battalions of the 1st Brigade stepped from the trenches 
of the Red Line and started across No Man’s Land, which on the 
previous day had been territory far inside the German lines. By 
] 1 a.m. the Brigade had captured the Blue Line and by 1- p.m. the 
Brown Line had also fallen. Down the eastern slope of the Ridge 
the 1st Brigade continued, halting while the artillery shelled Farbus 
Wood, then driving through the Wood, capturing several batteries of 
guns, and reaching the railway line beyond Farbus by 5.45 p.m. 

Elsewhere on the front the result was much the same. The 2nd 
Canadian Division attacked with four brigades, each on a front of 
two battalions. The 4th and 5th Brigades captured the Black Line 
and the latter continued to the Red Line. The 13th Imperial Brigade 
then passed through, capturing Goulot Wood and many prisoners. 
By mid-afternoon the Division had captured all its assigned objec- 
tives and had pushed patrols through Farbus Village. The 3rd Cana- 
dian Division had not so far to go as the 1st and 2nd Divisions, but 
it cleared La Folie Wood, captured the Black Line soon after 6 a.m., 
and the Red Line three hours later. In the Red Line the Division 
halted, that position being its final assigned objective. On the front 
of the 4th Canadian Division on the left, the 87th and 102nd Bat- 
talions suffered severely, machine gun fire from a commanding posi- 
tion known as “ The Pimple”, cutting the attacking waves to pieces. 
The 87th Battalion, Canadian Grenadier Guards, lost 60% of its 
personnel; in the 102nd Battalion all officers became casualties and 
command passed to a company sergeant-major. Other battalions of 
the Division suffered in proportion, but success in the end was not 
denied them, for by night they had reached their objectives and in the 
morning they drove the last German from Vimy Ridge. By this 
time a total of 3,342 prisoners had passed into Canadian hands. 




Yimy Ridge, April, 101 






1917 



TAKING VIMY RIDGE 



149 



When the capture of the Red Line was reported to 14th Battalion 
Headquarters, Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe and his staff advanced 
from Bentata Tunnel to a dugout in the Black Line. In common with 
many German dugouts in the Vimy Area, this hole in the ground was 
stocked with an enormous supply of bottled soda water, also with a 
quantity of sour and unpalatable bread. The soda water was refresh- 
ing, but the bread was altogether beyond what Canadians could 
stomach. As one officer remarked, “ The smell of it is deplorable 
and the taste not even a German could appreciate ”. 

At 9.40 a.m. the Battalion withdrew from the Red Line to a posi- 
tion near Nine Elms, moving again before noon to an area between 
Eisener Kreuz Weg and the Sunken Road. Meantime stretcher- 
bearers worked untiringly to clear the field of wounded. In the Regi- 
mental area this task was quickly accomplished, the wounded being 
brought to a collection post not far from Battalion Headquarters. 
Unfortunately, difficulties of ambulance convoy in the rear area 
caused a delay at this point, a number of the 14th wounded being 
killed by shell fire while waiting to be carried further back. Apart 
from this purely local failure, the wounded were handled with the 
utmost efficiency. By noon many had reached hospitals back of the 
lines and by night few remained at the advanced dressing stations. 

From noon on April 9th until dusk on the 10th, the 14th Battalion 
remained in the position between Eisener Trench and the Sunken 
Road, ready to move should the enemy counter-attack, or troops of 
the 1st Canadian Division require assistance. No appeal for help 
was forthcoming, however, and the Battalion moved back to take 
over Vase Trench from the 10th Canadian Battalion. 

Ill 

Fbur days were spent at Vase Trench, during which the men were 
fascinated by the activity around them. Thousands of troops were 
employed on the construction of roads and light railways; huts to 
shelter reserve units were springing up in all directions; guns were 
being manipulated and tractor-hauled forward; and in the air squad- 
rons of planes manoeuvred and fought as the opposing pilots sought to 
discover, or conceal, what was taking place beneath them. 

At 5.30 o’clock on the morning of April 14th the Royal Montreal 
Regiment relieved the 3rd Canadian Battalion in a reserve position 
in Wittelsbacher Trench, moving forward again at dusk on April 15th 
and relieving the 5th Canadian Battalion in Bois de la Ville. Three 



150 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



days later the Royal Montrealers took over the left sub-section of 
the Brigade front (Arleux Sector) from the 13th Battalion, and Major 
A. T. Powell, who was commanding during the temporary absence of 
Licut.-Col. McCombe, established his headquarters in a dugout in 
the railway embankment not far from Farbus Station. 

For four days the Battalion occupied the front line, which ran 
along the Sunken Road near Willerval and consisted of shallow pits, 
providing a bare minimum of shelter. Cooking was well-nigh impos- 
sible, as the enemy batteries had the pits ranged to perfection and the 
slightest sign of life drew shell fire of barrage intensity. The enemy, 
smarting at the loss of Vimy Ridge, had no intention of permitting 
the Canadians to triumph unmolested. His exasperation and annoy- 
ance found a means of expression in expenditure of ammunition, indi- 
viduals being sniped at by field guns and small parties provoking fire 
from batteries. 

On several occasions during the tour in the front line the enemy 
laid a barrage along the line of the Farbus Railway. Perhaps he 
suspected that plans for a further attack were being completed, or 
possibly he hoped to inflict losses on some headquarters. Be that as 
it may, the shelling, though intense, was singularly unproductive, 
causing few casualties and no delay in the marking of assembly posi- 
tions for the proposed new attack. Following relief by the 4th Cana- 
dian Battalion, which was completed at 12.40 a.m. on the morning of 
April 23rd, the 14th Battalion withdrew up Vimy Ridge and, crossing 
back over the summit, moved into reserve tents at Maison Blanche 
South Camp. Three days were spent in this position, the Battalion 
moving on April 26th to tents at Fond du Vase, on the 28th to Brigade 
Support positions in Bois Carre, and on the 29th to a position in sup- 
port of the 13th Battalion (Arleux frontage). 

May 1st, 1917, found the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade holding 
a line just east of Arleux-en-Gohelle, which had been captured four 
days previously by troops of the 2nd Brigade. In close support to 
the front line, the 14th Battalion, with a trench strength of 21 officers 
and 473 other ranks, lay in a series of small pits, each holding from 
2 to 4 men. Shelling throughout the day threatened the unit, but for 
some reason the enemy gunners straddled the position and casualties 
were avoided. At night the Battalion was relieved by the 3rd Battalion. 

When relief was completed at 1 o’clock on the morning of May 
2nd, the Royal Montreal Regiment moved back to Island Traverse 
Trench and there spent the day in Brigade Reserve. Moving for- 
ward again at 11 o’clock that same night, No. 1 Coy. occupied dugouts 



1917 



TAKING YIMY RIDGE 



151 



in the railway embankment just north of Farbus Station, and Nos. 2, 
3, and 4 Companies took over positions on the western edge of Bois 
de la Ville. At 9.30 a.m. on May 3rd, the Battalion was attached to 
the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade to support operations in the neigh- 
bourhood of Fresnoy. Shell fire was heavy during the Fresnoy fight- 
ing and on May 3rd 12 other ranks of the Battalion were wounded. 
On the following day 3 were killed and 3 wounded. At night on May 
4th the Battalion was relieved from close support and moved back to 
Brunehaut Farm, proceeding thence at 5.30 o’clock on the following 
morning and marching, via Mont St. Eloi and Camblain l’Abbe, to 
Corps Reserve billets in Estree Cauchie. 

So terminated the part played by the 14th Battalion in the spring 
fighting at Vimy Ridge. Following the assault on April 9th, the 
Battalion had spent three and a half weeks in the front line, or ill 
reserve positions in the forward area, ever within range of German 
shells and never far from the zone of rifle and machine gun fire. 
Working parties during this period had taxed the strength of the unit 
severely and had permitted little rest or relaxation. All fighting and 
working demands had been met, despite which the Regiment, as it 
marched out to rest, showed few signs of exhaustion or fatigue. Legiti- 
mate pride was reflected in the bearing of the men, who realized that 
in days to come the fight they had waged at Vimy would add perpetual 
honour to the colours of the 14th Battalion. 



CHAPTER XIII 



HOLDING VIMY RIDGE 



“ We saw not clearly nor understood, 

But, yielding ourselves to the master-hand, 

Each in his part as best he could, 

We played it through as the author planned.” 

— Alan Seegek. 



I 

A FTER the fighting on April 9th, 1917, and the exhausting tours 
l \ in the front line at the foot of Vimy Ridge, the 3rd Canadian 
"*■ Infantry Brigade was withdrawn from active duty for a 
period of rest in Corps Reserve. All battalions of the Brigade had 
suffered at Vimy, the 16th Battalion having lost 21 officers, of whom 
8 were killed; the 13th having lost all four company commanders and 
a number of experienced non-commissioned officers; and the 14th and 
15th having been reduced to far below normal strength. All, there- 
fore, welcomed the opportunity for reorganization and assimilation 
of reinforcements. 

In the 14th Battalion reconstruction of the companies took place 
on May 6th, when changes amongst officers were effected and promo- 
tion given to men who had shown capacity during April. Further 
reorganizations were carried out on the following day when the Bomb- 
ing, Lewis gun, and Intelligence Sections received attention. Bathing 
parades at Gouy Servins on May 8th refreshed and smartened the 
rebuilt unit for inspection by the Divisional Commander, Major- 
General A. \Y. Currie, C.B., at Chateau de la Haie on the afternoon 
of May 9th. On the following day the Battalion, strengthened to a 
total of 34 officers and 484 other ranks, marched again to Chateau de 
la Haie, where the 3rd Brigade was inspected by the Corps Com- 
mander, Lieut. -Gen. the Hon. Sir Julian Byng, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., 
M.V.O., who congratulated the battalions on the part they had taken 
in the capture of Vimy Ridge. 

Three days after Sir Julian Byng’s inspection the Protestant sec- 
tion of the Battalion, totalling 24 officers and 374 other ranks, marched 
to the Brigade Area to attend a service of thanksgiving for the vic- 
tories granted to Canadian arms in April. All units of the Brigade 
were present ; hymns were sung by the troops to music provided by 



1917 



HOLDING VIMY RIDGE 



153 



the band of the 14th Battalion, and the service was conducted by the 
Chaplain General of the First Army, assisted by Chaplain Major A. 
H. Creegan and Chaplain Lieut.-Col. F. G. Scott. General Sir H. S. 
Horne, K.C.B., Commanding the First Army, was present, also Lieut.- 
Gen. Sir Julian Byng and Major-General A. W. Currie. Following 
the impressive and dignified religious ceremony, General Horne 
addressed to the troops a few words of congratulation on their work 
at Vimy and encouragement for the immediate future. 

Routine training marked the following days, a break occurring on 
May 16th when the afternoon was devoted to Battalion sports, attend- 
ed by Brig.-Gen. Tuxford, and another two days later when Brigade 
sports were held at Chateau de la Haie. Training of the companies 
and specialists was resumed on May 19th and continued without 
interruption until May 31st, when the Battalion paraded at 7.10 a.m. 
and marched to relieve the 27th Canadian Battalion in Divisional 
Reserve, near Berthonval Farm. 



II 

At 8 o’clock on the morning of June 1st, 1917, the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, vacated the lines taken over from the 27th 
Battalion and moved into the Paynesley Area to relieve the 22nd 
Canadian Battalion in Divisional Support. Relief was completed 
without casualties at 10.20 a.m., Headquarters being established in 
Paynesley Trench and the companies distributed partly in a large 
cave and partly in trenches and dugouts. Here the Battalion passed 
an uneventful day, under orders of the 2nd Canadian Division. 

At 10.30 p.m. the companies of the 14th advanced to relieve the 
19th Canadian Battalion in Brigade Reserve, a party under Major 
Dick Worrall, consisting of Lieut. P. Coombes, Lieut. D. W. Clark- 
son, Sergt. Harrison, Corp. F. M. Vandyne, and Corp. E. H. Hanley, 
proceeding to the 1st Canadian Divisional School, near Ferfay, to 
train 500 men who had arrived from England as a reinforcement. At 
12.05 a.m. on June 2nd the main body of the Battalion, proceeding 
to relief of the 19th Battalion, encountered barrage fire at a point on 
the east slope of Vimy Ridge. By detouring, casualties were avoided, 
and fifty minutes later the relief was carried out. 

On taking over from the 19th Battalion, Headquarters was estab- 
lished in the railway embankment about 300 yards south of Vimy 
Station and the companies located in positions not far away. A 



154 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



defence scheme, drawn up by Lieut.-Col. McCombe and issued by the 
Adjutant, Capt. Plow, notified officers and men that the Battalion 
must stand ready to assist the Brigade units in the front line. Red 
rockets in rapid succession would be the S.O.S. and, on sighting these, 
troops of the 14th Battalion Tvould “ stand to ”, pending the arrival 
of orders from Battalion Headquarters. 

Between 7 and 11 o’clock on the morning of June 2nd, No. 3 Coy., 
grouped near the Old Mill, was subjected to shelling and 4 other ranks 
were killed. Later the fire shifted to the neighbourhood of Battalion 
Headquarters, the enemy gunners searching, so it seemed, for Cana- 
dian field batteries hidden not far away. At 9 o’clock in the evening 
three parties, each consisting of 1 officer and 100 other ranks, pro- 
ceeded to the front line to work under orders of the 13th Battalion. 
.June 3rd, the King’s birthday and the first anniversary of the counter- 
attack at Maple Copse, was marked by an attack of the 4th Cana- 
dian Division at La Coulotte. The noise of the bombardment pre- 
ceding this attack reverberated along the 1st Division’s front, but no 
activity ensued. At night 6 officers and 300 other ranks of the Bat- 
talion worked on the construction of C.P.R. Trench, and one officer 
from each company, together with scouts, signallers, and runners, 
proceeded to familiarize themselves with the front held by the 13th 
Battalion. 

On the night of June 4th German aeroplanes bombed near the 
Royal Montreal transport lines, and enemy guns shelled the Battalion 
trenches. Shelling continued on the morning of the 5th, particularly 
in the neighbourhood of Headquarters. At 11 a.m. one shell wounded 
Capt. Plow and killed the private to whom he was giving orders. A 
happier hour of the day brought news that the King had recognized 
the devotion to duty of Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe by bestowal of 
the D.S.O. Announcement of this award was followed by news that 
the French Government desired to honour bravery displayed by Com- 
pany Sergt. -Major J. F. Hurley on April 9th by award of the Medaille 
Militaire. Simultaneously, it was announced that the British Mili- 
tary Medal had been granted to Private G. Brewer. 

At 10.30 p.m. the Battalion, with a trench strength of 500 all ranks, 
left Brigade Reserve to relieve the 13th Battalion in the front line: 
Nos. 1 and 2 Companies occupying the right and left sectors of Quebec 
Trench, with Nos. 3 and 4 Companies in support. Shelling immedi- 
ately after the relief suggested attack, and defensive patrols with 



1917 



HOLDING VIMY RIDGE 



155 



Lewis guns were despatched into No Man’s Land, but no attack devel- 
oped. Gas shelling on June 6th forced the men to wear respirators 
for some hours, No. 3 Coy. being further inconvenienced at 8.45 a.m. 
when a German plane spattered the position with machine gun fire. 
In retaliation for these attentions and to deceive the enemy, British 
artillery laid down as a feint a 3-line barrage lasting ten minutes. 

On June 7th an enemy plane again attacked the Battalion lines 
with machine gun fire. No success attended this effort, but later in 
the day gas shelling killed one man and caused four others intense 
suffering. The concentration of gas blew over the Canadian back 
areas and was undissipated when it reached Battalion Headquarters, 
1,000 yards behind the firing line. Patrols moved freely in No Man’s 
Land that night, but on the night of the 8th all parties were with- 
drawn, as the British I Corps, in conjunction with the 3rd and 4th 
Canadian Divisions, was carrying out a raid to the left. Heavy shell- 
ing preceded this venture and provoked retaliation, the vicinity of 
Royal Montreal Headquarters being bombarded for over three-quar- 
ters of an hour. Meanwhile, dense clouds drifted over the front line 
from a smoke barrage. Little information regarding the raid reached 
the 14th that night, but on the morrow all ranks heard with satisfac- 
tion that a German officer and 21 men had been captured. 

June 9th and 10th were “ quiet ” days, according to the official 
Diary, which states that the Battalion endured desultory shell fire, 
rather brisk machine gun fire, and a measure of attention from enemy 
aircraft. At night on the 10th the 3rd Canadian Battalion marched 
forward to relieve and completed the operation at 1.05 o’clock on the 
morning of June 11th, the 14th Battalion thereupon withdrawing to 
Brigade Support at Thelus Cave. Two companies billeted in the cave, 
the remainder, plus two attached platoons from each of the 13th, 15th, 
and 16th Battalions, occupying the “ funk hole ” area immediately 
outside. 

From dusk on June 11th until dawn on the 12th the entire 14th 
Battalion W'orked to wire reserve trenches a few hundred yards from 
Thelus Cave, continuing the work on the following night, and one 
company carrying it still further on the nights of June 14th and 15th. 
The 16th of the month was without incident, but at 10 p.m. on the 
17th the Battalion marched to Winnipeg Huts, near Mont St. Eloy, 
and there entered Divisional Reserve. Eight days of routine training 
followed, in the course of which a draft of 1 officer and 40 other ranks 
was taken on strength. 



15G 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



At 7 o’clock on the evening of June 25th the Battalion paraded at 
Winnipeg Huts and marched to relieve the 3rd Canadian Battalion at 
Thelus Cave. When relief was complete, the Regiment, with a trench 
strength of 22 officers and 560 other ranks, garrisoned the “ Ridge 
Line ”, the most westerly of six lines forming the 1st Division’s defen- 
sive front. Battalion Headquarters, with Nos. 1 and 2 Companies, 
billeted in Thelus Cave, and Nos. 3 and 4 Companies occupied dug- 
outs close by. Three Lewis guns were mounted to protect the unit 
from, enemy aircraft, which had formed the habit of attacking when- 
ever opportunity offered. . On June 26th a draft of 204 other ranks 
reported for duty to the Battalion, which lay under orders of the 1st 
Canadian Infantry Brigade in the Ridge Line. In the morning 1 offi- 
cer and 20 other ranks worked under the 182nd Tunnelling Company 
at construction near Thelus Siding, returning after six hours to accom- 
pany the Battalion in a move forward. 

At night the Brigade took over the line, the 15th, 13th, and 16th 
Battalions occupying front trenches and the 14th Battalion relieving 
the 5th Canadian Battalion in close Brigade Support. Relief was 
completed at 1.13 a.m. on this occasion and at 1.45 a.m. the G.O.C. 
3rd Brigade assumed command of the area. A quiet day followed, 
the men avoiding movement, as the slightest activity brought shell 
fire. At 10.30 p.m. 2 officers and 210 other ranks were detailed to 
carry material to the front line. Near Engineers’ Dump a section of 
this party was caught by gun fire, 3 other ranks being killed and 12 
seriously wounded. Further casualties were prevented by Sergt. Henry 
Campbell, who scattered his men and personally directed them to 
positions of safety. Other parties, including one 168 strong which 
reported to the 182nd Tunnelling Company, were more fortunate and 
escaped losses. 

At 7.10 p.m. on June 28th the 3rd Brigade mounted a “ Chinese ” 
attack, to divert attention from the north where the 3rd and 4th 
Canadian Divisions were undertaking more serious operations. The 
characteristics of a “ Chinese ” attack are smoke and noise, but on 
this occasion the 13th Battalion added dummy figures, controlled by 
strings and made to represent massed troops awaiting the signal to 
“ go over ”. The dummies deceived the enemy who treated them to 
barrage fire without injuring the living troops in trenches to the rear. 

For some days after the “ Chinese ” attack, the 14th Battalion 
continued to act as Brigade Support, supplying regular working parties 
to the 182nd Tunnelling Company and others, which deepened and 



1917 



HOLDING VIMY RIDGE 



157 



widened Canada and Hudson Trenches. In order to mark Dominion 
Day, July 1st, all guns on the 1st Division’s front fired simultaneously 
at 11 o’clock in the morning. The sudden crash of shells must have 
puzzled those Germans whose education regarding Canadian holidays 
had been neglected. 

On the night of July 3rd No. 3 Coy. of the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment relieved a company of the 8th Canadian Battalion in C.P.R. 
Trench, between Battalion Headquarters and the Mont Foret-Lone 
Tree Road, and a section of No. 4 Coy. moved from north of New 
Brunswick Road to a position south of the road. On the following 
night the Battalion, 730 strong, relieved the 16th Canadian Scottish 
and two companies of the 13th Royal Highlanders of Canada in the 
Acheville Section of the Divisional front line (Acheville-Mericourt 
Sector), No. 4 Coy. holding Quebec Trench from its junction with the 
Acheville Road to Nova Scotia Trench, and a section beyond; No. 3 
Coy. taking over Nova Scotia Trench to the point where it inter- 
sected the southern Corps boundary; No. 2 Coy. moving into left 
support, with three platoons in Montreal Trench and one platoon in 
New Brunswick Trench; and No. 1 Coy. providing right support, with 
three and a half platoons in Winnipeg Trench and one-half platoon in 
Brandon Trench. 

In the front line the Battalion spent eight days. July 5th was quiet 
until 5 p.m., when a German heavy trench mortar, firing for the first 
time in the area, smashed parapets, buried a Lewis gun, and wounded 
six men. Retaliation by heavy artillery subdued this mortar, which 
remained silent throughout the night. From 11 p.m. until 2.30 a.m. a 
Royal Montreal patrol searched No Man’s Land, but no enemy was 
found. 

At 6.30 a.m. on July 6th the enemy bombarded with trench mor- 
tars, about 55 shells bursting in the Canadian wire, or close to the 
front line parapet. Simultaneously, the Germans registered with 4.9’s 
and 5.1’s, the wire-cutting and registration indicating to veterans of 
the Regiment that a raid was contemplated. On the chance that this 
obvious explanation of proceedings would prove correct, parties of the 
front line companies moved out to repair the torn wire as soon as 
darkness permitted. Casualties for the day totalled 1 killed and 3 
wounded. 

At 1.25 a.m. on July 7th, the enemy barraged the Royal Montreal 
front with trench mortars, 4.1-inch high explosive, and a varied supply 



158 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



of shrapnel. After ten minutes a section of the front was “ boxed ” by 
barrage fire and a party of 40 Germans advanced, presumably to raid. 
Cross fire from two. Lewis guns soon struck this party, and the Cana- 
dian artillery, in response to a signal of two green lights, barraged the 
point where the enemy had cut the defending wire. Under machine 
gun and shell fire the Germans wavered and, despite efforts of a brave 
officer to rally them, finally fled. On retreat of the enemy, 2 N.C.O’s. 
and 8 men advanced from the Royal Montreal trenches and remained 
in No Man’s Land for some time, witnessing from a point of vantage 
retaliation for the raid which three batteries of Canadian artillery 
maintained until 2.45 a.m. 

On July 8th the situation along the Battalion front was quiet, 
though a few shells were placed over the lines of the company on the 
right and two men were wounded. At night wiring parties completed 
repair of the gaps cut by the enemy previous to the attempted raid, 
and other parties deepened front line and support trenches, all being 
protected by a covering platoon from No. 1 Coy. Despite the exposed 
nature of the work allotted to the wiring and digging parties, all car- 
ried out their tasks without heavy losses. On the following day No. 1 
Coy. was less fortunate, 2 men being killed and 4 wounded at 5 p.m. 
when the enemy shelled the vicinity of Winnipeg Road. At night 
patrols of the Battalion were withdrawn from No Man’s Land when 
the enemy bombarded the front line. Later Capt. E. Cowen, M.C., 
D.C.M., commanding No. 4 Coy., was supervising a wiring squad 
when informed that Germans were approaching. To clear a field of 
fire for machine guns, Capt. Cowen withdrew his wiring party and 
was himself about to enter the Canadian front line when a bullet 
penetrated his lung. Badly wounded though he was, he stopped the 
stretcher-bearers who were taking him back to give instructions to 
Lieut. J. W. Maynard, who took command of the company pending 
the arrival of Lieut. T. G. Beagley. In wishing Capt. Cowen good 
luck and a speedy recovery, Lieut. Maynard voiced the sentiment of 
the men of No. 4 Coy., who were proud that Cowen had served in the 
ranks, earned distinction in many engagements, and displayed devo- 
tion to duty unsurpassed in the enviable records of the Battalion. 

Working and wiring parties and patrols were again busy on the 
night of July 10th, and on the night of the 11th a special party cov- 
ered the 13th Battalion front, where a trench was being dug in No 
Man’s Land. Shortly before midnight on July 12th the Battalion, 
after an uneventful day, was relieved by the 12th and 13th Battalions, 



1917 



HOLDING YIMY RIDGE 



159 



York and Lancs. Regiment, the operation being completed at 2.20 a.m., 
without casualties. On relief the Battalion withdrew to the Paynes- 
ley Area, whence it marched at 3.30 p.m., by way of Neuville St. Vaast 
and La Targette Cross-Roads, to Divisional Reserve at Fraser Camp. 
Previous to the march, twelve officers proceeded to Barlin to attend the 
funeral of Capt. E. Cowen, M.C., D.C.M., who had died in No. 6 
Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. As the body was buried these 
officers, standing at the salute, bore testimony to the affection and deep 
respect in which the late company commander was held by all ranks 
of his Battalion. 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE BATTLE OF HILL 70 

What of the fight? With no vain boast 
We meet the foeman on the field, 

But each man’s soul is as an host, 

To fight, to die, but not to yield. 

The glory of our splendid past 
Shines on us as a quenchless sun, 

That each and all may write at last 
The simple tale of duty done. 

— Claude E. C. H. Burton (“Touchstone”). 

I 

S OME time after the success at Vimy Ridge, Lieut.-Gen. the Hon. 
Sir Julian Byng was promoted to command the Third British 
Army, his place at the head of the Canadian Corps being taken 
by Major-General A. W. Currie, C.B., a Canadian-born citizen soldier, 
who had won distinction while commanding the 2nd Infantry Brigade 
at the Second Battle of Ypres, and, subsequently, had maintained his 
reputation for leadership while commanding the 1st Canadian Divi- 
sion. When Major-General Currie assumed command of the Corps, his 
place at the head of the 1st Division was taken by Brig.-General A. C. 
Macdonell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., who had successfully commanded the 
7th Infantry Brigade in some of the bitterest fighting of the war. Under 
these new commanders, the Corps was given the task of wrenching from 
German hands that rising ground east of Loos which on maps bore the 
unimaginative title “ Hill 70 

Sir Julian Byng had demonstrated the value to an attack of pains- 
taking preparation, and the Canadian Corps had learnt the lesson well. 
Accordingly, weeks before the Hill 70 operation, each unit’s part was 
studied, rehearsed, and modified as rehearsal proved advisable. In 
general, the plan adopted called for attack by two divisions, the 1st 
Canadian Division on the left and the 2nd Canadian Division on the 
right. Each division was ordered to attack on a front of two brigades 
and, in the 1st Division, the 3rd and 2nd Brigades were chosen, the 
3rd Brigade to be on the left. In turn, the 3rd Brigade was to attack 
on a front of three battalions, the 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders, 
on the left; the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, in the 
centre; and the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, on the right. The 
14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, was to act as Brigade 
Reserve. 




Brig.-Gex. F. S. Meighex, c.m.g. 
August, 1914 — June 19th, 1915. 

Lt.-Col. F. \Y. Fisher, 

Oct. 2Sth, 1915 — March ISth, 191(1. 

Lt.-Col. Gault McCombe, d.s.o., 
Jax. 15th, 1917 — April 19th, 1918 



Lt.-Col. \V. \V. Burlaxd, d.s.o. 

June 19th, 1915 — Out. 2Xth, 1915. 

Brig.-Gex. R. P. Clark, c.m.g., d.s.o., mu, 
March ISth. 1910 — Jax. 15th, 1917. 

Lt.-Coi. D. Worrall, d.s.o. (and liar), m.o 
April 19th, 19.1.x— April 20th, 1919. 



1<>17 



THE BATTLE OF HILL 70 



161 



II 

Unaware of what lay ahead, but anticipating action, the men of the 
14th paraded at 6 p.m. on July 14th, in a field S.W. of the Camblain 
l’Abbe-Mont St. Eloy Road, with the details (No. 5 Company) under 
command of Lieut. E. A. Adams. Marching from this position, the 
Regiment followed the main road through Camblain l’Abbe and Estree 
Cauchie to Gauchin Legal, where Lieut. B. T. Jackson and the Intelli- 
gence Section had arranged for billets. 

At Gauchin Legal church parades were held on the morning of July 
15th and kit inspection in the afternoon, deficiencies which the inspec- 
tion revealed being made up by issues on the following day. On July 
17th the Transport Officer was ordered to see that officers’ chargers 
were at billets at 7.45 a.m., as the Battalion, including No. 5 Detail 
Company, was to march a quarter-hour later. Parading in column of 
route, Headquarters moved off at 8 o’clock, the companies following 
and maintaining inter-company distances of approximately 200 yards. 
From Gauchin Legal the Battalion marched to Fresnicourt, thence to 
Verdrel and on past Fosse 9 to Hersin, thence to billets in Braquemont. 
To smarten appearance of the unit on the march, the men were ordered 
to wear puttees in infantry fashion only, with no hose tops, stockings, 
or socks visible. Unmounted officers were instructed not to carry canes, 
sticks, or riding crops. 

For five days at Braquemont the Battalion carried out routine 
training, special attention being devoted to bayonet fighting, gas helmet 
practice, bombing, and the formations used by platoons and companies 
in attack. At 3 o’clock on the afternoon of July 20th the Battalion, 
on orders from G.H.Q., paraded in full marching order before a pro- 
fessional camera man, who took moving pictures of the unit for War 
Office archives, and for exhibition in Canada. Following demobiliza- 
tion these pictures were shown in Montreal, where a number of 
ex-soldiers recognized themselves on the screen. Two days after the 
film was taken the Battalion marched from Braquemont, passed 
through Noeux-les-Mines and Barlin, and billeted in Ruitz shortly 
after noon. 

On July 24th the companies proceeded independently to Houchin, 
where the men bathed in great vats of hot water and received clean 
underclothing and socks. Physical drill, rifle grenade practice, bomb- 
ing, wiring instruction, and gas helmet drills occupied the time on 
July 25th, and on the following day a lecture informed all ranks of 
the tasks to be accomplished at Hill 70. 



102 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



In Operation Order No. 151, issued at 10.40 p.m. on July 24th by 
Major Plow, Battalion Adjutant, Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe, D.S.O., 
Commanding Officer of the 14th, deals with the duties of the com- 
panies, sections, and special parties in detail. Summarized, Lieut.-Col. 
McCombe’s orders and explanations were: — 

(1) General Plan: — In conjunction with other opera- 
tions, the Canadian Corps will take the high ground 
north of Lens, on a date and at an hour to be named 
later. 

(2) The Task of the 1st Division: — The 1st Canadian 
Division will attack with two brigades abreast, the 
2nd Brigade on the right, the 3rd Brigade on the 
left, and the 1st Brigade in reserve. 

(3) Brigade Flank: — The 138th British Brigade will be 
on the left of the 3rd Brigade attack. So far as is 
known at present, the 138th Brigade will take no 
direct part in the operation. 

(4) Brigade Formation: — 

Right: — 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish. 

Centre: — 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of 
Canada. 

Left: — 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders. 

Reserve: — 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment. 

(5) Brigade Objectives: — 

1st Objective: — The Blue Line. (About 1,000 
yards east of Loos; running east of, and 
for the most part parallel to, the Lens-La 
Bassee Road, and passing through Bois 
Rase and Bois Hugo.) 

2nd Objective: — The Green Line. (Between 
250-400 yards in advance of the Blue Line.) 

(6) Frontages: — Each of the three attacking battalions 
will attack on a two-company front, and each com- 
pany will attack on a two-platoon front. 

(7) Table of Frontages (approximate): — 



Brigade 


1 .400 


Yard; 


Battalion 


466 


<< 


Company 


233 


U 


Platoon 


116 


U 



1917 



THE BATTLE OF HILL 70 



163 



(8) Procedure: — The three attacking battalions will go 
straight through to the Blue Line. This they will 
consolidate while the barrage stands in front for 41 
minutes. They will reform during this time and 
continue the advance to the Green Line. 

(9) Duties of 14th Battalion: — 

(a) The 14th Battalion will not follow the 
attack. The primary duty of the Battalion 
is to hold itself in readiness to give imme- 
diate assistance to any battalion of the 
3rd Brigade, and to render help should the 
enemy deliver a counter-attack. 

(b) It must be borne in mind that there is a 
possibility of the enemy counter-attacking 
the left flank of the 3rd Brigade, as, once 
the attack has started, there will be no 3rd 
Brigade battalions remaining in the front 
line. 

(c) Therefore, the 14th Battalion must be dis- 
tributed so that it can hold the front line 
and guard the left flank, while at the same 
time it can be collected, in whole or in 
part, for immediate action. 

(10) Assembly:- — In view of the foregoing, the Battalion 
will assemble as follows: — 

No. 2 Coy. — 1 platoon in Meath Trench; 3 
platoons in the reserve trench between 
Chalk Pit Alley and Railway Alley. 

No. 1 Coy. — In the reserve trench between 
Railway Alley and English Alley. 

No. 4 Coy. — -In Tosh Alley, between English 
Alley and Chalk Pit Alley. 

No. 3 Coy. — In Reserve Trench. The personnel 
of No. 3 Coy. will later be detailed for 
carrying parties. The Lewis gun and gun 
crews of the company will be attached to 
No. 2 Coy. 

(11) Move following Zero: — After zero hour, when the 
hostile barrage dies down, as it will when the “ fog 
of war ” affects the enemy, the companies will move 



1G4 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



forward to the front line and immediate support 
and will take up positions as follows: — 

No. 2 Coy. — 1 platoon in Meath Trench (join- 
ing the platoon already there) ; 2 platoons 
between Chalk Pit Alley and Railway Alley. 

No. 1 Coy. — Between Railway Alley and Eng- 
lish Alley. 

No. 4 Coy. — In Reserve Trench, between Chalk 
Pit Alley and Railway Alley. 

(12) Command: — The 14th Battalion will not be used 
without orders from 3rd Brigade Headquarters to 
14th Battalion Headquarters, unless all communica- 
tion has been broken. 

Any portion of the Battalion which reinforces one of 
the attacking battalions, will pass under the control 
of the O.C. the battalion reinforced. 

(13) Headquarters: — 14th and 13th Battalion H.Q’s. — 
Meath Trench. 

(14) Forward Report Centres: — Will be established by 
the attacking battalions as soon as possible and will 
be distinguished by the following flags: — 

16th Battalion (right) — Red. 

13th Battalion (centre) — Black. 

15th Battalion (left)— Green. 

(15) Contact Aeroplanes: — If the 14th Battalion is called 
upon to reinforce the attacking battalions, communi- 
cation with the contact aeroplanes will be of the 
greatest importance. All ranks must be impressed 
with the fact that the smoke of the burning flares 
Does Not give our position away to the enemy artil- 
lery. 

(16) Messages: — Messages and reports must be num- 
bered, marked with the time and place, be as brief 
as possible, and be written on the back of specially- 
prepared sketch maps showing the German trenches. 
At the time of writing an officer will chalk his posi- 
tion on the sketch map. These maps will be issued 



as follows: — 

To Battalion Commanders 12 

To Company Commanders 12 

To Platoon Commanders 8 



1917 



THE BATTLE OF HILL 70 



165 



(17) Enemy Documents: — All papers, books, plans, etc., 
found in the enemy area must be carefully collected 
in sandbags and forwarded to Battalion H.Q. with 
as little delay as the situation permits. 

(18) Carrying Platoons:— The attacking battalions will 
be reinforced by the following platoons for carrying 
purposes: — 

15th Battalion- — 2 platoons of No. 2 Coy. 

13th Battalion — 1 platoon of No. 1 Coy. 

16th Battalion — 1 platoon of No. 1 Coy. 
These platoons will work under the Brigade Grenade 
Officer, Lieut. J. M. MacAdams, and will assemble 
in Reserve Trench. 

(19) Dumps: — 

“A” Line— Battalion dumps. 

a B” Line — On Lens-La Bassee Road. 

As soon as the situation permits, parties will com- 
mence to carry material from “A” Line to “ B ” 
Line. 

Main Divisional Dump — Lieut. McGovern 
(13th Battn.) in charge. 

Advanced Divisional Dump (Maroc) — Lieut. 
Lomas-Smith in charge. 

Divisional R.E. Park at Les Brebis. 

Divisional Salvage Dump at Bully Grenay. 

(20) Medical:— 

Advanced Dressing Stations — Le Philosophe 
and Les Brebis. 

Collecting Posts — Fort Glatz and St. Piitrick’s. 

Regimental Aid Posts — Chalk Pit (off Tosh 
Alley); Tosh Keep; Craig Lockhart. 

The Medical Officer of the 14th Battalion, Capt. 
John Graham, will be at Craig Lockhart. Stretcher 
cases will be cleared from the Chalk Pit and Tosh 
Keep posts by hand, via Loos Alley, English Alley, 
Don Walk, Dot Walk, and North Street, to Fort 
Glatz, thence by car to Le Philosophe and thence 
to Noeux-les-Mines. 

Walking cases will proceed via communication 
trench as far as Village Line Trench, thence by 
cross-country track to the collecting point. 



100 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



(21) Burials': — If the situation permits, the 14th Bat- 
talion will be detailed to clear the Brigade battle- 
field as far forward as the present enemy front line. 
If possible, the dead of the Brigade will be buried 
in Sains-en-Gohelle (Fosse 10) and Bully Grenay 
Cemeteries, all equipment being salvaged from the 
bodies and placed in dumps. If the situation will 
not permit burial of the fallen in the above ceme- 
teries, a suitable spot on the battlefield will be 
selected, probably along the Lens-La Bassee Road. 

(22) Signals: — The Canadian Corps S.O.S. signal is red, 
cither rockets or Very lights, as many as possible 
fired in rapid succession. In addition, heavy rifle 
or machine gun fire breaking out any time after the 
Green Line is captured will be treated as an S.O.S. 
signal. 

Bearing in mind the instructions quoted above, as well as many 
paragraphs of Operation Order No. 151, dealing with dress, equip- 
ment, supplies, and material, omitted here to conserve space, the 14th 
Battalion, 505 strong, paraded on July 27th and marched to Aix Nou- 
lette, there to carry out battle practice with the other battalions of 
the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade. For this practice an area repre- 
senting Hill 70 had been prepared, with the German trenches taped 
out and every feature of the enemy lines marked as clearly as pos- 
sible. Over this area the battalions rehearsed the assault, each 
company, platoon, and section, as during preparation for the attack on 
Vimy, carrying out, so far as was humanly possible, the duties that 
would fall to it in the actual hour of battle. To represent the barrage, 
a line of men with flags moved in advance of the assaulting battalions, 
halting and moving forward again in accordance with the arrange- 
ments for a standing barrage after the capture of the Blue Line. A 
curious feature of these manoeuvres was that they were, in part, under 
direct observation from the distant enemy lines. Perhaps the slight 
haze screened them. In any event they w>ere uninterrupted by aero- 
planes, or shell fire, which was fortunate, as, owing to the importance 
of ripening crops, no other practice ground was available in the entire 
district. 

On July 29th religious services were held in a tent owned by the 
Expeditionary Force Y.M.C.A. and in Ruitz Village church. Follow- 
ing these, the ribbon of the Military Medal was presented to No. 
25933, Sergt. Henry Campbell, who had been awarded the decoration 



1917 



THE BATTLE OF HILL 70 



167 



for bravery in charge of a carrying party near Yimy on June 27th. 
At noon on July 30th the Battalion Adjutant issued addenda to Lieut.- 
Col. McCombe’s operation order dealing with the attack on Hill 70. 
Amongst other items announced were details regarding prisoners, bar- 
rages, etc., the more important of which are listed below: — 

(1) Prisoners of War: — The Divisional Station for col- 
lection of prisoners will be at Maroc. Prisoners, on 
their way out, will be utilized as much as possible 
to carry stretcher cases. 

(2) Stretcher-Bearers: — 20 additional stretcher-bearers 
will be detailed — 5 from each company — and will 
be assembled at Regimental Aid post before zero. 
They will wear a white bandage on the left arm as 
a distinguishing mark. 

(3) Smoke Barrages: — Smoke barrages will be put on 
at zero by British troops on our left, to deceive the 
enemy as to the northern flank of the attack. 

(4) Contact Patrol: — No. 16 Squadron, Royal Flying 
Corps, will fly at zero. The contact patrol will call 
for flares at zero plus 120 minutes. Flares will be 
lighted by the 13th, 15th, and 16th Battalions only. 

(5) Enemy Dugouts: — In the event of the 14th Bat- 
talion having to advance, all ranks must be aware 
of the fact that the 3rd Australian Tunnelling Com- 
pany’s “ Investigation Party ” goes forward at zero 
plus 24 minutes, to search enemy dugouts. This 
party will mark dugout entrances, “ Dangerous ”, or 
“ Considered Safe ”. German traps and mines are 
reported, and great caution must be employed in 
entering any dugout, unless the “ Safe ” sign has 
been placed thereon by the Tunnellers. 

(6) Precaution: — Beyond doubt, in some recent opera- 
tions, the enemy was informed as to the date and 
approximate hour of the attack. The most probable 
sources of such information are the improper use of 
the telephone and indiscreet talk of officers and men. 
Special attention is again directed to explicit instruc- 
tions recently issued on this subject. 

Heavy rain interfered somewhat with the training on August 1st, 
2nd, and 3rd. In the morning on the 3rd Major-General A. C. Mac- 
donell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., the new leader of the 1st Canadian 



1G8 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



Division, visited the Battalion at Ituitz and referred to the fine tradi- 
tion which the unit had established. Later in the day the Battalion 
marched from Ruitz to Mazingarbe, there entering billets in Brigade 
Reserve. 

After two days at Mazingarbe, the Battalion moved to relieve the 
16th Battalion in the front line (Loos Sector). On reaching the village 
of Le Philosophe, the unit encountered severe shell fire, which killed 8 
men and wounded 14, the casualties including the entire personnel of 
a Lewis gun section. Pushing through, or around, the danger zone, the 
companies completed relief of the 16th Battalion at 3.15 a.m. and 
established liaison with the 10th Canadian Battalion on the southern 
flank and the 6th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, on the north. Fine 
weather prevailed during the relief, but the trenches were deep in mud 
as the result of previous rain. 

August 7th was a busy day, as much material for the attack on 
Hill 70 was delivered at the Battalion dump. During the day some 
200 enemy shells fell in the Regimental area without causing losses, 
or serious damage. At 9 a.m. the heavy artillery of the Corps bom- 
barded the German front line, continuing the fire until 6 o’clock in 
the evening. On the left of the 14th front, “ back lash ” from this 
fire rendered evacuation of some trenches advisable. On August 9th 
the artillery again carried out a 9-hour “ shoot ”, tearing the enemy 
wire and paving a way for the coming assault of the infantry. Retalia- 
tion for this fire was sharp and Lieut. L. M. Hooker was wounded. At 
night on the 9th the Battalion was relieved by the 3rd Battalion. 

Following relief, the Royal Montreal Regiment marched to Noeux- 
les-Mines, proceeding on the following day to Fosse 7, Barlin, where, 
on August 12th, a Protestant church service was held in conjunction 
with the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada. Following 
this service routine training continued for one day, then, at 6.30 p.m. 
on August 13th, the Battalion marched to Mazingarbe, where the 
companies were reorganized for the Hill 70 operations, No. 3 Coy. 
being brought to a strength of 200, divided into 4 platoons, and Nos. 
1 , 2, and 4 Companies reduced to a two-platoon basis. 

At 9.50 p.m. on August 14th, 1917, the Battalion left- Mazingarbe 
Huts, the platoons donning box respirators as the forward area 
was reached and gas shells fell in large numbers. In spite of the 
obstacle which these shells presented, the Battalion, 589 strong (83 
were on special duty), had reached assembly trenches and taken up 
position at 3.45 o’clock on the morning of August 15th. Forty min- 



1917 



THE BATTLE OF HILL 70 



169 

utes later the Canadian guns opened fire and the Battle of Hill 70 
began. 

At 5.30 a.m. 14th Battalion Headquarters was notified that the 
13th and 15th Battalions had captured the Blue Line, and at 5.55 a. in. 
the 13th Battalion was reported to have captured its final objective, 
the Green Line. This report must have been premature, as it was 
6.10 o’clock before the 13th and 16th Battalions stormed their way 
into the Green Line, both battalions having encountered stiff opposi- 
tion and suffered severe losses. In both cases, however, the battalions 
had refused to check and had courageously maintained the pre- 
arranged schedule of progress. 

At 7 a.m. the 14th Battalion sent four Lewis guns and eight posts 
of riflemen forward into the old Canadian front trenches, to guard 
against any counter-attack which might sweep through the decimated 
battalions in the new front line. Several counter-attacks were attempt- 
ed, but the artillery smashed them, or they were dealt with by the 
reduced, but still effective, front line companies. From an advanced 
position on the left flank of the attack. Lieut. B. T. Jackson, Intelli- 
gence Officer of the 14th Battalion, who was attached to the 138th 
British Brigade for liaison, reported the assembly of counter-attack- 
ing forces near the Bois Dix-Huit. One counter-attack in strength, 
led by a German officer on a white horse, deployed under fire with a 
courage exciting the admiration of all observers. Courage alone, how- 
ever, could not carry the attack forward and it wilted under the blast 
of concentrated shell fire which greeted it. 

Lieut. Jackson was also witness to a stirring little action when 
Lieut.-Col. C. E. Bent, Commanding Officer of the 15th Battalion, was 
attacked by Germans who debouched from a dugout in his rear. 
Though taken by surprise, the gallant C.O. of the 15th showed fight 
and held off the enemy until his men rallied to his support and dispersed 
the attacking party. Lieut.-Col. G. E. McCuaig, of the 13th Bat- 
talion, had an equally narrow escape when prisoners near his head- 
quarters were mistaken by a mopping-up patrol for active enemies 
and attacked with machine gun fire. McCuaig and the prisoners 
escaped injury, but one runner was killed and two signallers wounded. 

Meanwhile, possibly as a result of the attack on Lieut.-Col. Bent, 
14th Battalion received news that 15th Battalion Headquarters was in 
immediate danger. Lieut.-Col. McCombe thereupon issued orders for 
an attack on the left, with No. 2 Coy. leading the assault and No. 1 
Coy. advancing in close support. Hardly had No. 2 Coy. started for- 
ward, when a message arrived stating that the situation had improved 



170 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



and no counter-attack would be required. On receipt of this message, 
No. 2 Coy. was ordered to reinforce the 15th Battalion on the left, 
No. 4 Coy. taking over the position which No. 2 vacated. 

Throughout August 15th carrying parties of the 14th Battalion 
worked their way through enemy barrages, delivering much material 
at points where it was urgently needed. On the return trips many of 
these parties carried stretchers with wounded, all ranks displaying 
gallantry under fire and earning mention in the Commanding Officer’s 
report to Brigade Headquarters. In one party, commanded by Lieut. 
J. M. Stephenson, two men, Privates Burke and Hall, refused to leave 
duty when wounded and worked faithfully until killed by a shell in 
Canteen Alley. Lieut. II. T. Rodger also remained at duty after 
suffering a painful wound. 

At 1.30 o’clock on the morning of August 16th, No. 4 Coy. of the 
Royal Montreal Regiment reinforced the 15th Battalion, and Major 
Sheppard, of that unit, used 1 officer and 45 other ranks to strengthen 
the front line at the junction of the Blue and Green Lines, 1 officer 
and 20 other ranks to man the front line west of this junction, and 1 
officer and 20 other ranks to garrison the Blue Line. No. 4 Company 
Commander was ordered to remain in the Blue Line and lead a coun- 
ter-attack, should this prove necessary. One hundred other ranks 
were attached to him for the purpose. 

Meanwhile, two companies of the 2nd Canadian Battalion reported 
for duty to 14th Battalion Headquarters and were ordered to take up 
a position in Gun Trench. At 2 a.m. Lieut.-Col. McCombe moved one 
platoon of No. 1 Coy. into the old front line and effected redisposition 
of several minor posts, all with a view to checking any enemy counter- 
attack on the left flank. At 3.45 a.m. he moved one company of the 
2nd Canadian Battalion from Gun Trench to Reserve Line, on the 
right of Railway Alley. 

All day on August 16th and all that night the companies of the 
14th Battalion continued to carry out the tasks assigned to them. In 
the front line Nos. 2 and 4 Companies valiantly co-operated with the 
men of the 15th Battalion, sharing with the latter the hardships of 
maintaining and consolidating the newly- captured line and suffering 
proportionally from severe shell fire. At one point a platoon of No. 2 
Coy., sadly reduced in strength, kept up an appearance of power by 
deputing one man to run up and down at night, firing Very lights 
over the parapet at frequent intervals. Lieut. Rene Bourgeois, who 
had won the Medaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre while serving 
in the French Foreign Legion and who, throughout the present opera- 



1917 



THE BATTLE OF IIILL 70 



171 



tion, had displayed courage and abundant good cheer, was killed, as 
was Lieut. J. G. Pope. Amongst other ranks, either in the actual front, 
or whilst employed on carrying parties, 17 were killed, 11 failed to 
answer at roll call and were listed as “ missing, presumed killed ”, 80 
were wounded, and 39 severely gassed. Lieuts. W. S. McCutcheon, 
Harry Edney, and Donald MacRitchie were also wounded. 

At 5.10 a. m. on August 17th the 14th Battalion was relieved by 
two companies of the 3rd Canadian Battalion, No. 1 Coy. of the 14th 
proceeding to Gun Trench, No. 2 Coy. to the Village Line, No. 3 Coy. 
to Loos, and No. 4 Coy. to the Village Line. Battalion Headquarters 
remained in Meath Trench, Lieut.-Col. McCombe issuing orders to 
the company commanders regarding positions to be taken up in the 
event of emergency. Should all wires and communication be cut, 
company commanders were left to judge whether an emergency exist- 
ed, or not. 

On taking over their new positions, all men of the Battalion were 
re-equipped with bombs, small arm ammunition, and such articles as 
they had lost, or used up, in the course of the Hill 70 operations. Gas 
shelling caused much inconvenience at this time, consequently the 
men were not sorry when at 2.15 a.m. on August 20th the 5th Cana- 
dian Mounted Rifles carried out relief and the 14th withdrew to 
billets in Les Brebis. Here a poor welcome was provided, shell fire 
killing one man and wounding three. These casualties were attended 
by Capt. Graham, the Battalion Medical Officer, who, during the 
operations just concluded, had passed through his post over three 
hundred and seventy-five wounded, including many members of the 
10th Battalion. 

After resting for a few hours at Les Brebis, the Battalion marched, 
via Sains, to Fosse 7, Barlin, billeting there for the night, and march- 
ing on the 21st, via Ruitz and Haillicourt, to the reserve area at 
Marles-les-Mines. On arrival at Marles-les-Mines, the troops started 
to clean up and to repair clothing damaged in the operations just 
completed. On the afternoon of August 21st a reinforcing draft of 1 
officer and 75 men reported for duty, and on the following day the 
Battalion received a visit from Major-Gen. A. C. Macdonell and 
Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, who congratulated the troops on the work 
carried out at Hill 70, but warned them that ceaseless effort would be 
required to maintain the reputation the Division had won. 



CHAPTER XV 



THE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



The ancient and the lovely land 
Is sown with death ; across the plain 
Ungamered now the orchards stand, 

The Maxim nestles in the grain, 

The shrapnel spreads a stinging flail 
Where pallid nuns the cloister trod, 

The airship spills her leaden hail ; 

But — after all the battles — God. 

— Alan Sullivan. 



I 

F OI1 ten days after the action at Hill 70 the 14th Battalion, Royal 
Montreal Regiment, remained in Corps Reserve at Marles-les- 
Mines, refitting, reorganizing, and carrying out training of a 
routine nature. On August 27th the Battalion paraded, 637 strong, 
for inspection by the Commanding Officer, Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe, 
D.S.O., and subsequently marched to a field outside the village, where 
the 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade was reviewed by Field Marshal 
Sir Douglas Haig, K.T., G.C.V.O., G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of 
the British Armies in France. Sir Douglas, who was accompanied by 
Lieut.-Gen. A. W. Currie, Major-Gen. A. C. Macdonell, Brig.-Gen. G. 
S. Tuxford, and Sir George Perley, Canadian High Commissioner in 
London, inspected the battalions with care and congratulated the men 
on the quality of the work they had recently accomplished. Owing 
fo heavy rain, the pipes of the Highland battalions developed a 
“ throatiness ” which rendered them unfit for action. The units of the 
Brigade, therefore, marched past the Commander-in-Chief to music 
provided by the brass band of the 14th. 

Six days after Sir Douglas Haig’s inspection, the Battalion paraded 
at 8.15 a.m. and marched, via Haillicourt, Barlin. and Hersin, to 
Divisional Reserve in Bouvigny Huts. Proceeding on the following 
night, September 3rd, the Battalion passed under command of the 9th 
Brigade and relieved the 58th Canadian Battalion in Cite St. Pierre, 
Headquarters and the companies billeting in cellars and dugouts with- 
in a radius of some 200 yards. 

At 8 p.m. on September 4th the Royal Montreal Regiment advanced 
from reserve in Cite St. Pierre and, passing again under command of 
the 3rd Brigade, relieved the 116th Canadian Battalion in the right 




attadian Official ( < 



1917 



TIIE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



173 



sub-sector of the front line. On completion of the relief, Lieut.-Col. 
MeCombe, together with Capt. Graham, the Medical Officer, and Lieut. 
D. E. Stewart, Acting Adjutant, established Headquarters under the 
ruins of Lens Hospital, while Nos. 1 and 3 Companies occupied the 
front line, with No. 2 Coy. in support and No. 4 in reserve. At this 
time the strength of the Battalion was divided as follows:— 



Lewis 



Unit 


Officers 


OR. 


Gunners 


Headquarters 


5 


13 




Intelligence Section 


1 


25 




Communication Section ... 


1 


36 




Medical 


1 


5 




No. 1 Cov 


4 


118 


4 


No. 2 Coy 


C 


116 


3 


No. 3 Coy 


4 


144 


4 


No. 4 Coy 


4 


140 


4 




26 


597 


15 



During the six-day tour that followed the enemy was active, shell- 
ing at not infrequent intervals and displaying interest in the advent 
of the new brigade by sending over a number of planes to reconnoitre. 
At 4.20 a.m. on September 5th a patrol of the Battalion reported an 
enemy working party, which was dispersed by shell fire. In retalia- 
tion, possibly, the enemy bombarded the 14th front on the night of 
the 5th, mixing gas shells with high explosive. As a result of the shell- 
ing 8 men were evacuated suffering from gas poisoning, one of them 
dying a few hours later. At 7.30 p.m. on September 7th, a shower of 
golden rockets rose from the German lines to the 14th Battalion left. 
Presumably these constituted an S.O.S., for soon afterwards the enemy 
laid down a barrage. After a few minutes he decided that his alarm 
was groundless and so notified his gunners by a rocket, which burst 
into gorgeous red flame. 

During the tour in the front line, night patrols of the 14th Battalion 
checked the activities of the enemy and reported on the condition of 
his wire, while working parties deepened La Bassee and Conductor 
Trenches and carried quantities of material into the forward area. 
In addition to the casualties from gas, 1 man was killed and 15 
wounded. Lieut. E. C. Morris was also wounded. An incident of the 
tour occurred one foggy morning on the front of No. 16 Platoon, when 
Lieut. D. MacRitchie noticed two individuals near a Battalion night 
outpost position. Corp. Aldridge reported that no Canadians were 
still “out”, so MacRitchie stood up on the parapet, covered the 
strangers with a rifle, and shouted. At the shout four hands shot into 



174 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



the air and two German machine gunners trotted to the Canadian 
lines to surrender. Questions disclosed that they were members of a 
German outpost squad who, seeking their own line, had become 
bewildered in the fog. 

At night on September 10th the Battalion was relieved by the 16th 
Battalion and marched to Divisional Reserve at Marqueffies Farm, 
where on September 12th the horses of the Battalion were inspected by 
a veterinary officer of the Divisional Staff. On the following day two 
companies marched to the Gas School at Aix Noulette, where damaged 
respirators were exchanged and gas helmets thoroughly inspected. On 
the 16th of the month Roman Catholic and Protestant church parades 
were held, Major-General A. C. Macdonell joining in the latter, which 
was conducted in a field near the Battalion Orderly Room. Just 
previous to this the Battalion had bidden farewell to Capt. F. B. D. 
Barken, an original company officer, who, in 1915, had taken over the 
duties of Regimental Paymaster and since that time had served con- 
tinuously, faithfully carrying out the difficult, and sometimes unappre- 
ciated tasks which fall to the Paymaster’s lot. On leaving to take 
over duties in England, Capt. Barken bore with him the regard and 
good wishes of the whole Battalion. He was succeeded as Battalion 
Paymaster by Capt. S. G. Dixon. 

Following the religious exercises on the morning of September 16th, 
the men of the Battalion rested until evening, and then marched to 
Cite St. Pierre to relieve the 13th Canadian Battalion in Brigade 
Reserve. Working parties of 7 officers and 350 men were supplied to 
the Engineers on several occasions during the tour that followed. 
Casualties were light until the early morning of September 21st, when 
the enemy bombarded with high explosive and gas. One gas shell 
burst within a few feet of the sentry at No. 4 Coy’s. Headquarters and 
choked him before he could sound the alarm. Similar shells followed, 
their vapour flooding the H.Q. dugout and gassing a number of men 
within. High explosive then struck the billet of the Battalion Pion- 
eers, tearing away the protective blanket and exposing the men to the 
full effects of gas shells which followed a moment later. The suffering 
of the men caught by the barrage of phosgene and mustard gas was 
severe. Temporary blindness followed in several cases, and over 60 
men were evacuated with badly irritated throats and lungs. Officers 
also suffered from this shelling and several were badly gassed, 
amongst those evacuated being Eieuts. J. S. Brisbane, F. Browne, 
Daniel Woodward, and A. C. N. MacKay. Capt, J. R. Weaver, an 



1917 



THE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



175 



American citizen, who had crossed from Canada in the ranks of the 
Battalion and suffered wounds on three occasions, was gassed on 
September 22nd. He had received a commission in July of the pre- 
vious year and had been promoted to a captaincy on September 16th. 
Following his recovery from the effects of the gas, he was granted 
discharge from the Canadian forces and received a commission in 
the United States Army. The concentration of gas on September 21st 
was not dissipated for many hours, the troops being forced to wear 
gas helmets throughout the day. 

On the morning when the enemy shelled with gas, Brig. -General 
G. S. Tuxford sent for the Medical Officer of the 14th Battalion to 
attend an officer of his staff who was suffering from the effects of 
mustard gas. After a casualty return had been made out, the Briga- 
dier accompanied the Medical Officer down the ruins of the village 
street, expressing rather exasperatedly his opinion of those who in a 
“ gas dangerous ” locality stirred from protected dugouts without a 
gas helmet available. Orders on the subject were strict, and the 
Brigadier was heatedly explaining the penalties which negligence 
would attract in future. “ Any man ”, he exclaimed, “ who leaves his 

gas helmet behind in this area should be ”. At this moment the 

General halted, and abruptly bade the M.O. good-bye. Taken aback, 
Capt. Graham turned enquiringly to his French-Canadian orderly, 
who was convulsed with laughter. “ W’en de General talk ”, explained 
the latter, “ he forget dat he place hees own gas helmet on de chair in 
dat dugout. W’en we come hout jus’ now, ’e’s leave ’er be’ind 

At 11 p.m. on September 22nd the enemy once more bombarded 
Cite St. Pierre with phosgene and mustard gas, continuing to deluge 
the area until after 3 o’clock on the following morning. All working 
parties were accordingly cancelled and the men held as much as pos- 
sible inside the protection of gas-proof dugouts. At night the Battalion 
was relieved by the 1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment, and 
marched back to Marqueffles Farm, reaching this position on the 
morning of September 23rd and proceeding at 5.30 p.m., via Bouvigny- 
Boyeffles and Petit Servins, to Grand Servins, and thence by cross- 
country trail to Corps Reserve in Estree Cauchie. 

Throughout the last week in September and for the first few days 
of October, the Battalion remained in Corps Reserve at Estree Cau- 
chie. Canon Scott, C.M.G., now become Senior Chaplain of the 1st 
Canadian Division, visited his old unit on October 3rd and lectured 
to the men on “ Events of the Past Year ”, his interesting survey being 



176 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



followed by a visit from an officer of the Divisional Staff, who lectured 
to officers of the 3rd Brigade battalions on the vital subject “ Gas ”. 
While the Battalion was at Estree Cauchie it was announced that, 
for bravery and devoted service, the Military Cross had been awarded 
to Lieut. E. G. T. Penny and Lieut. A. L. McLean. Simultaneously, 
the courage and loyal co-operation of other ranks was acknowledged 
by the award of 23 Military Medals. 

Following the training period at Estree Cauchie, the Battalion 
paraded at 1 p.m. on October 4th and marched, by way of Maisnil 
Bouche, Grand Servins, and Petit Servins, to billets in Gouy Servins. 
Proceeding on October 5th, the unit entered Brigade Reserve in Zouave 
Valley, remained there for a few r hours, and at night relieved elements 
of the 44th and 47th Canadian Battalions in the front line (Avion 
Sector) . 

With advanced Headquarters in Avion Trench under command of 
Major B. F. Davidson, M.C., the Battalion carried out a five-day 
tour in the front line. Enemy trench mortars were active on October 
7th, but failed to interfere with Royal Montreal working parties which 
widened, deepened, and repaired Avion Trench and Cyril Communi- 
cation Trench. On the 9th of the month the enemy shelled the reserve 
trench and scored a direct hit on a company dugout, wounding Lieut. 
A. E. Scott and Lieut. W. S. McCutcheon, both of whom had suffered 
wounds previously, the former at Festubert, in 1915, and the latter in 
the more recent fighting at Hill 70. At another point a shell com- 
pletely demolished a Lewis gun, but, fortunately, the crew were 
sheltered at the moment and escaped injury. Later in the day two 
linesmen lost their way in No Man’s Land and wandered into a 
German trench. Encountering a party of the enemy, the linesmen 
bolted for safety and one reached the Canadian lines uninjured, but 
the other failed to report. Search revealed nothing, and the name of 
the second linesman was accordingly added to the Battalion’s roll of 
“ missing ”. 

At 3 p.m. on October 10th the 16th Canadian Battalion started 
relief of the 14th, completing the operation five and a half hours later. 
From the front line, Headquarters of the 14th, with Nos. 1. 2, and 4 
Companies, withdrew to Brigade Reserve at Tottenham Huts, No. 3 
Coy. passing under command of the 13th Battalion in Brigade Sup- 
port. Following return of No. 3 Coy., the Battalion, on October 13th, 
marched via Carcncv, Souchez, Maisnil Bouche, and Estree Cauchie, 
to the Reserve Area at Cauehin Legal. Here the Battalion remained 



1917 



THE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



177 



for a week, parading at Verdrel on October 17th, when the Commander 
of the First British Army, General Sir H. S. Horne, inspected the 3rd 
Brigade, and again on the 19th, when Major Dick Worrall, M.C., 
commanding the Battalion during the temporary absence of Lieut.- 
Col. Gault McCombe, D.S.O., complimented all ranks on the smart 
appearance presented. 



II 

On October 19th, 1917, Lieut. D. E. Stewart, Acting Adjutant of 
the 14th Battalion, issued an operation order which notified the troops 
that the 1st Canadian Division would be transferred from the First 
British Army to the Second Army, the change over to take place on 
October 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. This order conveyed information that 
the Canadian Corps was once again to visit the Ypres Salient. 
Remembering the welcomes which the Salient had extended in 1915 
and 1916, the veterans of the Royal Montreal Regiment received the 
announcement with a touch of grim humour, which confirmed officers 
in their opinion that the old unit was ready for whatever task might 
be assigned to it. 

In preparation for a march to the new area, officers were instructed 
to reduce kit to a maximum of 50 pounds, and the Travelling Kitchens 
were given orders regarding the preparation of meals en route. 
Arrangements were also made to have an ambulance at the rear of 
the column, experience having shown that even the gamest soldier is 
sometimes compelled to fall out during a long march. Parading at 
Gauchin Legal on the morning of October 20th, the Battalion passed 
through the towns of Houdain, Rebreuve, and Ranchicourt, and reach- 
ed Bruav five minutes before noon. Four men fell out during the 
march and six on the following day, when the Battalion marched 
through Marles-les-Mines, Lozinghem, Allouagne, Fillers, and Moul- 
tinville, to billets in Ham-en- Artois. 

Proceeding on October 22nd, the Battalion passed through Isber- 
gues and Berguette and reached Thiennes at 11.40 a.m. No straggling 
occurred on this occasion, but four men were declared medically unfit 
to march and given permission to ride in the accompanying ambulance, 
this privilege being granted again on the following day when the 
Battalion marched, via Wallon Cappelle, to farm buildings on the 
outskirts of Staple. 



17S 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



On arrival in Staple the Medical Officer, for the first time in his 
experience, was accorded a hostile reception by a woman of France. 
Billeting arrangements had placed the Battalion dressing station in 
an estaminet on the outskirts of the town, but the virago w r ho owned 
the establishment refused the Canadian officer permission to enter, 
and the Town Major, unwilling to offend a not too friendly populace, 
yielded the point and bade the Medical Officer go elsewhere. Billets 
were scarce, but Capt. Graham was a man of resource. Denied admis- 
sion by the lady of the house, he evicted a sow and eight offspring 
from an outhouse, cleaned up the sty, and established his station, 
ignoring the citizeness and the sow, both of whom loudly voiced their 
disapproval. 

For a week the Battalion remained at Staple, carrying out train- 
ing, supplemented on October 27th by a 30-minute night route march 
with gas helmets at the “ alert ”. On October 27th the 3rd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade was inspected by the Corps Commander, Lieut.- 
General Sir A. W. Currie, K.C.M.G., C.B., and on the 29th General 
Sir Hubert Plumer, G.C.M.G., G.C.V.O., K.C.B., A.D.C., Commander 
of the Second British Army, inspected the 14th Battalion, which was 
carrying out special training. General Plumer, who was accompanied 
by Major-General A. C. Macdonell and Brig.-General G. S. Tuxford, 
approved the training and expressed satisfaction at the knowledge of 
their work displayed by officers and men. 

Meanwhile it had become clear that the Canadian Corps was to 
take part in the great Ypres battle which had begun at ten minutes to 
six on the morning of July 31st and was still in progress. At the time, 
the objectives against which Sir Douglas Haig launched his divisions 
were far from clear. It was realized that freeing of the Flanders 
coast would strike at the German submarine blockade, but long after 
hope of this had vanished, British brigades and divisions moved to 
the assault, gaining a few hundred yards of seemingly valueless terri- 
tory at an appalling cost in life, limb, and material. As Field Marshal 
Sir William Robertson states, the battle for the most part was fought 
under atrocious conditions of weather, with well-nigh impassable mud 
and unfordable craters strengthening the German defence. Through this 
mud and past these craters the British, and several Australian divisions, 
had somehow driven their attack, battering against the concrete “ pill 
box ” defences until, to quote General Ludendorff, “the horror of the 
shell hole area at Verdun was surpassed. It was no longer life at all. 
It was mere unspeakable suffering”. 



1917 



THE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



179 



Realizing the suffering and being aware that the territory captured 
failed to pay for the cost, students of the situation wondered wherein 
lay the clue to Sir Douglas Haig’s determination. Even the theory 
of a “ period of ceaseless attrition ” failed to explain what was taking 
place, for in such fighting the defence must suffer fewer losses than 
the attack. Only tremendous superiority in strength would justify 
“attrition” that favoured the enemy heavily; the students therefore 
sought a different explanation, which, after a long time, was forth- 
coming. To quote from the pages of “ Sir Douglas Haig’s Command ”, 
a trustworthy book: “ The British Army struck and kept on striking 
to give the French Army, under Petain, time to recover its morale 
after the collapse of Nivelle’s offensive on the Aisne. This could not 
be stated in 1917, nor for a long time after ”. As is now known, 
General Nivelle’s ghastly failure in the spring of 1917 reduced one 
division of the French Army to mutiny, and several others to a condi- 
tion regarded as “ unsafe ”. The British Army, therefore, was forced 
at any cost to engage the enemy and keep him from hurling his 
strength against that link of the Allied chain which had temporarily 
weakened. 

As winter approached, Sir Douglas realized that he must carry 
the Passchendaele Ridge, or withdraw his forces from the blood-soaked 
ground captured during August, September, and October. To retire 
would have involved admission of defeat and confession of failure. 
In the circumstances, such action could not be considered. Passchen- 
daele, then, must be taken, and without delay. In the spring the 
Canadian Corps had taken Vimy. In mid-summer it had taken Hill 
70. Could it take Passchendaele? Sir Douglas decided that it could, 
or, at least, that it had a chance. Accordingly, he summoned it from 
Lens and placed the task before it, accepting the Corps Commander’s 
plan of attack, which differed from that proposed by the G.II.Q. Staff. 

Coming into action early on the morning of October 26th, 1917, 
the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions, in conjunction with a British 
and French offensive, ploughed their way through unbelievable mud, 
overcame bitter enemy resistance, and captured Bellevue Spur. Five 
days later the Canadian line was advanced 1,200 yards on a front of 
3,000 yards, as a result of fighting bitter enough to defy description. 
Men perished by the score in battles waged for possession of a con- 
crete “ pill box ; many drowned in shell holes, filled with icy water; 
others are still “ missing ”, no man having witnessed the victory over 
them of the all-engulfing mud. Something of the difficulty presented 



180 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



by mud can be gathered from the fact that evacuation of a single 
stretcher case, impossible after dark, demanded the united effort of 
six bearers for a period of as many hours. 

Following the fighting on November 1st, the exhausted 3rd and 
4th Canadian Divisions were withdrawn from the line and replaced 
by the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions, to whom was assigned the 
honour of completing what the 3rd and 4th Divisions had so splen- 
didly begun. Leaving their jumping-off positions on November 6th, 
with full appreciation of the task before them, the 1st and 2nd Divi- 
sions stormed Passchendaele Ridge and swept down the slopes beyond. 
Sir Douglas Haig’s judgment had proved correct, and the Canadian 
Corps had triumphed. But the Corps which withdrew from the Ypres 
Salient after Passchendaele was not the Corps which had answered 
the urgent call a month earlier. Three thousand men had laid down 
their lives in wresting the Ridge from German grasp; a thousand more 
had disappeared in the slimy mud of that evil district; and twelve 
thousand lay in hospital wounded. Sixteen thousand casualties in 
eleven days! No wonder that throughout Canada ‘‘Passchendaele” 
is a name evoking tragic memory. 

Though the battalions of the 3rd Brigade were not used in the 
assaults on Passchendaele Ridge, their duties during the operations 
were arduous in the extreme, and called for sustained physical exer- 
tion. At 5 o’clock on the morning of October 31st the transport of 
the 14th Battalion marched from Staple, and established lines not far 
from Ypres at 4.30 in the afternoon. With a strength of 747 all ranks, 
the Battalion left Staple at 6.30 a. in., entraining at Ebblinghem an 
hour and a quarter later and reaching Ypres shortly before noon. 
From Ypres the Battalion marched through St. Jean to old trenches 
in the vicinity of Wieltje, the route recalling to the veterans of 1915 
memories of gallant comrades now two-and-a-half years dead. Pre- 
vious to reaching Camp “A” which had been selected for the over- 
night halt, Major Worrall, commanding the Battalion during the 
temporary absence of Lieut.-Col. McCombe, came under the orders 
of the 8th Canadian Infantry Brigade and was instructed to send 
two companies forward to Kansas Cross. Accordingly, Nos. 2 and 3 
Companies, under command of Major B. F. Davidson, M.C., moved 
forward in full battle order. On reporting to the 8th Brigade, these 
companies, numbering respectively 4 ofiiccrs and 130 men and 5 offi- 
cers and 137 men, were disposed in support of the 5th Canadian 
Mounted Rifles. 



1917 



THE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



181 



Meanwhile, at Camp “A” Headquarters, plus Nos. 1 and 4 Com- 
panies, had witnessed aerial activity on a scale which dwarfed any- 
thing in their previous experience. Day and night the Germans were 
taking advantage of temporary aerial superiority to bomb the Cana- 
dians’ slender lines of communication. Over Camp “A” sailed one 
magnificent squadron of fighting planes, escorting heavily-laden Gotha 
bombers, which contemptuously flung down some fifteen bombs and 
then proceeded toward Ypres. All night aerial activity continued, the 
men of the 14th sleeping little as the ground shook to the concussion 
of the great air torpedoes. Fortunately, most of the bombing was 
nearer Ypres, the neighbourhood of the Battalion Transport Lines 
receiving attention, but the transport personnel escaping without 
losses. 

At 4.30 p.m. on November 1st, Headquarters of the 14th Battalion, 
plus Nos. 1 and 4 Companies, moved forward from Camp “A”, taking 
up Brigade Reserve positions at Capricorn Keep some four and a 
quarter hours later. On the morning of November 2nd Major Worrall, 
accompanied by Lieut. B. T. Jackson, Scout Officer, carried out a 
reconnaissance of the front line, and at night the Battalion, including 
Nos. 2 and 3 Companies, which had rejoined, moved in single file, via 
Infantry Track No. 6, to relief of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles. 
On taking over, Major Worrall established his Headquarters at Kron- 
prinz Farm; Nos. 1 and 4 Companies moved into the actual front, 
and Nos. 2 and 3 Companies provided support. Command of the 
forward area w r as given to Major B. F. Davidson. 

Following relief of the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles, the Battalion 
was reinforced by a company of the 15th Battalion, these troops 
bringing the force under Major Worrall’s command to a strength of 
27 officers and 661 other ranks. At 1.40 a.m. on November 3rd about 
60 Germans approached the left flank of the Royal Montreal position, 
but were driven back by fire from Lewis guns and shell fire from the 
supporting artillery. Three hours and five minutes later the Germans 
dropped an intense barrage between the front line and Battalion 
Headquarters, cutting communication and “ boxing ” the forward area 
completely. At 6.05 a.m. 3rd Brigade reported an attack on the 14th 
Battalion’s right, adding that a break through was rumoured and 
instructing Major Worrall to govern his actions accordingly. 

Acting on the assumption that a rupture of the right front had 
occurred, Major Worrall ordered the officers of the 15th Battalion to 
reconnoitre a defensive flank. Carrying out these instructions with 



182 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1917 



skill and alacrity, the Toronto officers reported at 7 a.m. that they 
were ready to proceed. A few minutes previously, however, 3rd Bri- 
gade had telephoned stating that the rumour of a German intrusion 
on the right was unfounded. Accordingly, the idea of forming a defen- 
sive flank was abandoned. In a report dealing with the period of the 
enemy barrage Major Worrall records gratification and pride in the 
bravery of the Battalion runners. Undeterred by numerous casual- 
ties, these men penetrated the barrage over and again, carrying mes- 
sages that enabled the companies in the front line and those in reserve 
to present a united front to the threatened danger on the right. Two 
runners, who had lost their way, dashed into the German line and 
were taken prisoner. 

At 7.30 a.m. the’ enemy barrage suddenly died away, being replaced 
by sniping, intermittent gas shelling, and more or less constant machine 
gun fire. These caused a number of casualties, among the severely 
wourtded being Major B. F. Davidson, M.C., Acting Second-in-Com- 
mand of the Regiment and O.C. the front line. Throughout the engage- 
ment up to this time Major Davidson had shown the same courage 
and qualities of leadership as during the previous actions of the year. 
His loss, therefore, was regretted by all ranks of the Battalion, as was 
that caused by the wounding of two capable officers, Capt. J. H. 
Boutelle and Lieut. Gerald Hiam. On November 4th both sides shelled 
heavily, the 14th Battalion suffering appreciable losses, offset in some 
degree by the unusual number of Germans who fell to the Battalion 
snipers. Why the enemy were so careless is not clear, but at frequent 
intervals throughout the day the snipers were afforded easy targets. 
Possibly the Germans, seeking a wound, risked death to escape from 
that “ area of unspeakable suffering ” which was Passchendaele. 

Late at night on November 4th the left half of the Royal Montreal 
Regiment’s front line was taken over by the Hood Battalion, 63rd 
(Royal Naval) Division, the remainder of the Battalion, less No. 3 
Coy., which remained in support, being relieved early on the following 
morning by the 3rd Canadian Battalion and withdrawing to Camp 
“A” at Wieltje. Here No. 3 Coy. rejoined the Battalion on November 
5th, the entire unit suffering sharply at 5 o’clock on the morning of 
November 6th when Camp “A” was heavily bombarded. 

At night on November 7th the Battalion filed up Infantry Track 
No. 5 to relieve the 3rd Canadian Battalion in a reserve position on 
Bellevue Spur. Shelling of the narrow, one-man track occurred dur- 
ing the relief and two other ranks were killed. Heavy shelling con- 



1917 



THE YPRES SALIENT AGAIN 



183 



tinued all day on November 8th. and again on November 9th, which 
was also marked by intense aerial activity. In the aerial fighting the 
Germans seemed to have attained a definite local superiority. Eighteen 
of their planes cruised over the Royal Montreal front at one time, 
several of the pilots sweeping low over the position and raking the 
Trenches with machine gun fire. From this fire the 14th escaped with- 
out losses, but there was no avoiding the heavy fire of the German 
artillery and a number of Royal Montrealers were wounded, among 
these being Lieut. G. V. Whitehead, a brother of Capt. E. A. White- 
head, who had fallen in action while serving with the Battalion in 
June of the previous year. 

Relieved by the 10th Canadian Battalion at 8.05 p.m. on Novem- 
ber 9th, the Battalion moved back, by way of Infantry Track No. 6, 
to Capricorn Keep, where the men occupied the same area as on 
November 2nd. At Capricorn Keep the unit passed one night, being 
relieved by the 58th Canadian Battalion at 2.20 o’clock on the after- 
noon of November 10th and withdrawing to Camp “ C ”, near Wieltje. 
From Camp “ C ”, on the morning of November 11th, the Battalion 
proceeded in parties to a bath house established near Ypres on the 
bank of the Yser Canal. Here hot water and clean clothing rejoiced 
the hearts of the men, who were filthy, and correspondingly depressed, 
after the mud, blood, and fighting in the Salient. 

Thus ended the part played by the 14th Battalion, Royal Mont- 
real Regiment, in the Battle of Passchendaele. To other units had 
fallen the honour of carrying out the actual assaults and driving the 
enemy from Passchendaele Ridge, while the battalions of the 3rd 
Brigade had toiled at the unspectacular, but exhausting, tasks allotted 
to troops in support. Throughout the engagement the morale of the 
Battalion had left little to be desired. Under conditions which taxed 
strength and endurance to the utmost, the men maintained high spirits 
and at all times evinced willingness to accomplish whatever tasks fell 
to their lot. As mentioned previously, 4 officers had been wounded, 
not including Lieut. A. D. Brewer, who was evacuated on November 
13th suffering from the effects of a wound and enemy gas. Lieut. 
Brewer had crossed from Canada in the ranks of the Battalion and 
had been commissioned in January, 1917, after recovering from wounds 
received at the Somme. Amongst other ranks, casualties at Passchen- 
daele totalled 147, of whom 14 were killed, 7 presumed killed, 70 
wounded, and 56 gassed. 

And now the Corps was leaving the Ypres Salient behind. Thrice 
the Canadians had visited Ypres and thrice the Salient had given a 



184 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



bloody welcome. Thrice, however, they had torn victory from the 
jaws of defeat, saving the day in 1915, preventing disaster in 1916, 
and now, in 1917, wresting from German hands that Ridge which, 
uncaptured, would have annulled the gains of three months’ fighting. 
Little of all this passed through the minds of the veterans as they left 
the Salient. They had been summoned from Lens to take Passchen- 
daele, and the task had been accomplished. They had carried out a 
feat of arms which will endure in military history, and were glad that 
the job was over. The departure from Passchendaele was not a trium- 
phal march. The Corps had triumphed, but the cost had been great. 
Without regret, the divisions bade the district adieu. Actually, they 
bade it a final good-bye. Other triumphs lay ahead, but Canada’s 
work at Ypres had been completed. 



CHAPTER XVI 



WINTER ON THE LENS FRONT 



Now when we take the cobbled road 
We often took before, 

Our thoughts are with the hearty lads 
Who tread that way no more. 

And when we leave the trench at night 
And stagger ’neath our load, 

Grey silent ghosts as light as air 
Come with us down the road. 

— Patrick McGill. 



I 

O X completion of the operations at Passchendaele in November, 
1917, the Canadian Corps moved back to take over the British 
front at Lens. Earlier in the season the Corps had held this 
front and had prepared an attack on Lens, but, Passchendaele inter- 
vening, the Lens project had been abandoned and was not now under 
consideration. The Corps had suffered in Flanders and was in no 
condition to undertake a large scale offensive, particularly as the sea- 
son of favourable weather had definitely passed. In addition, develop- 
ments in Russia and elsewhere had released large bodies of German 
troops, forcing the Allied armies to consider the defence of vital points 
rather than opportunities for attack. 

On the whole western front no location offered Germany greater 
inducement to attack than the area commanded by Vimy Ridge, which 
protected the great coal mining district of France, as well as vital lines 
of communication. Realizing that Germany would attack somewhere 
in the spring and that a successful blow at Vimy might involve British 
disaster, Sir Douglas Haig ordered the Canadian Corps to strengthen 
the area’s defences. Throughout the late autumn of 1917 and the 
winter and spring of 1918, therefore, huge working parties of Cana- 
dian infantry toiled, under supervision of the Engineers, to convert 
Vimy into a fortress of tremendous strength. Night after night, and 
in the day time where possible, thousands of men dug trenches, strung 
barbed wire, erected machine gun emplacements, burrowed into the 
earth to build shell-proof ammunition dumps, established water reser- 
voirs, buried signal cables, and wrought in every way to fortify the 
area against the day when it might stand between Germany and mili- 
tary victory. 



186 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



What was accomplished by the troops is best conveyed by a few 
examples. There was the “Army Line ”, 25,000 yards in length, con- 
sisting of front, support, and reserve trenches, with wire entangle- 
ments, machine gun emplacements, and bomb-proof command posts; 
the “ Ecurie Switch ”, 12,000 yards long, and similar in construction 
to the “Army Line”; “July Line” consisting of front, support, and 
reserve trenches, extending for 9,000 yards; and “Paddock Switch” 
only 1,000 yards shorter. Twenty-two thousand yards of 2-line 
trenches were also dug and a vast system of lines with wire and 
machine gun emplacements was brought into being, chief amongst 
these being the “ Reservoir Iiill-Beaumont Line ” of 25,000 yards, the 
“ St. Pierre and La Plaine Switch ” of 22,000 yards, the “ Lens Road 
Switch ” of 17,250 yards, and the “ Tlielus Ridge Line ” of 15,000 
yards. That the enemy observed the strength of the position and 
appreciated the significance of what had been accomplished seems 
obvious, for, when he struck with all the strength he could muster, 
he avoided Vimy, despite the fact that at no other point would a 
short advance have yielded commensurate return. To the working 
parties of the infantry, to the Tunnelling companies, to the Pioneer 
companies, and to the Engineer units, therefore, is due, at least in 
some measure, the fact that when Germany’s vast effort had failed 
the British line on Vimy Ridge stood firm where it had stood in the 
autumn of the previous year. 



II 

On November 11, 1917, the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment, began the move from Flanders back to Lens. Marching from 
the Wicltje area at noon, the Battalion proceeded to Ypres, entraining 
there at 4.10 p.m. and reaching Brandhoek some two hours later. 
After passing the night at Ridge Camp, Brandhoek, the Battalion 
paraded at 10.30 o’clock on the morning of November 12th and pro- 
ceeded to a point where lorries were waiting. To eliminate delay the 
companies had been divided into “ bus parties ” of 25 men each and 
Incut. D. MacRitchie detailed to supervise distribution. This plan 
worked well, and soon the busses were under way to the Merville 
Area, where the men billeted in farm houses not far from the town. 
Continuing the lorry journey on November 13th, the men were carried 
to Bethune, and on the following day to Fosse 10, near Sains-en- 
Gohclle. At Sains-en-Gohelle the Battalion remained for three days, 
at the end of which a squad, under Lieut. Patterson, cleaned up 



1917 



WINTER ON TIIE LENS FRONT 



187 



billets and joined the unit in a march, via Boyeffles and Bouvigny- 
Boyeffles, to Marqueffles Farm. Two days were spent in this location, 
the Battalion then marching to Brigade Reserve at Alberta Camp. 

On November 22nd a party of officers and N.C.O’s. from the Bat- 
talion reconnoitred the front line, Avion Sector, each officer making a 
sketch showing trenches, communication trenches, bombing posts, 
Engineers’ dumps, and machine gun emplacements, and also reporting 
on defensive wire, gas defences, sanitation, opportunities for night 
patrols, and weak spots in the enemy wire. Three days later the 
Battalion took over from the 13th Battalion, Nos. 1 and 4 Companies 
moving into the front line, Nos. 2 and 3 Companies providing support, 
and all reporting completion of relief to Battalion Headquarters in 
Beaver Trench by use of the code word “ Excelsior At this time 
“ Intelligence ” reported movement in the German rear areas which 
might indicate an enemy withdrawal to the Drocourt-Queant Line. 
Nothing in the character of the resistance offered to patrols of the 
Canadian battalions confirmed such a theory, but arrangements for 
an immediate advance were made should the retirement take place. 
In the meantime responsibility for detecting any such move rested 
with the units in the front line. In such circumstances patrols were 
necessarily frequent and aggressive. 

On November 26th two men of the 14th Battalion were killed by 
enemy trench mortars, which were active in the morning and again at 
9 o’clock at night. At 9.30 Battalion Headquarters asked the sup- 
porting artillery for retaliatory fire, this request being granted and 
the German front shelled for 40 minutes. In addition, a company of 
the Royal Engineers, using special apparatus, propelled 700 drums of 
gas into the enemy trenches, with satisfactory results. Later Lieut. 
B. T. Jackson led a patrol to the enemy wire to seek information 
regarding the rumoured retirement. When close to the German wire 
the Royal Montrealers sighted an enemy patrol, too strong to be 
attacked. “ Freezing ”, the 14th patrol escaped detection and later 
returned in safety to the Canadian lines. 

November 27th was a quiet day, but at 4 o’clock on the morning 
of the 28th the front woke to activity as the enemy pushed a raid 
against the left section of the Battalion, presumably to secure identi- 
fications. If such was indeed the purpose, the raid failed, for no 14th 
men were captured. In repelling the attack, however, 6 men were 
wounded, including Lieut. E. Evans, an original member of the Bat- 
talion, commissioned after recovering from wounds received in July, 
1916. Two hours after repulse of the raid, the enemy attacked on the 



188 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1917 



right front, driving into the Royal Montreal trench, but again failing 
to take prisoners. One man of the 14th was wounded in the action, 
but this casualty was more than offset when the Battalion’s Lewis 
guns caught the raiding party and inflicted sharp losses. 

Ill content with the result of his raids on November 28th, the 
enemy launched a more ambitious effort at 4.55 o’clock on the morn- 
ing of November 29th, when, following a trench mortar bombardment, 
some 42 Germans advanced to the attack. Total failure dogged this 
party, which was routed with a loss of three prisoners, of whom one 
died whilst being carried to the 14th Battalion Aid Post. 

At 4.45 o’clock on the morning of December 1st, the Canadian 
artillery, trench mortars, Stokes guns, and Brigade machine guns 
barraged the 14th Battalion front for five minutes, hoping to catch 
an enemy raid in No Man’s Land. Undeterred by this exhibition of 
defensive power, the enemy pushed forward a raid at 6 o’clock in the 
afternoon, the effort coming under barrage fire and recoiling with 
sharp losses, but not before two men of the 14th had been killed and 
two wounded. Later a patrol of the Royal Montreal Regiment, under 
Lieut. B. T. Jackson, examined the ground over which the enemy had 
advanced. No dead were discovered, but, on reaching the spot where 
the dead from the previous raid were lying, the patrol noticed that 
one body concealed a bomb, arranged to detonate if the cadaver were 
lifted. The Germans, realizing that the Canadians would probably 
seek identifications, had used the body to bait a trap. Happily, this 
strategy went unrewarded. 

At 12.50 a.m. on December 4th, following relief by the 1st Cana- 
dian Battalion, the Royal Montreal Regiment moved back to La 
Coulotte and there entrained, under supervision of Lieut. R. G. 
Savage, for Vancouver Camp at Chateau de la Haie. A week of 
training followed, devoid of unusual incident, except that supplied by 
voting for candidates in the Dominion election being held in Canada. 
Sections of the Battalion cast ballots on December 5th, and Nos. 2 
and 3 Companies voted on December 8th. Secrecy of the ballot was 
preserved, consequently no statistics are available as to how the men 
viewed the chief issue of the campaign, namely, conscription. 

On the morning of December 11th Lieut. -Col. Gault McCombe, 
D.S.O., inspected the Battalion, which was about to relieve the 8th 
Canadian Battalion in support in the Lens Sector. Marching at 3 p.m. 
to Summit Siding, opposite Chateau de la Haie, the men entrained in 
20 cars (3 trains) and proceeded to Lens Junction, detraining at this 



1917 



WINTER ON THE LENS FRONT 



189 



spot and marching, via Angres, to Napoo Corner in Lievin, where 
guides of the 8th Battalion were awaiting them. 

In support at Lievin the Battalion spent four days, on each of 
which parties, approximately 325 strong, carried material or repaired 
Adept and Approach Communication Trenches. Aerial activity was 
marked, and continued after December 15th, when the Royal Mont- 
realers relieved the 13th Royal Highlanders of Canada in the right 
sub-section, Moulin Sector, of the front line. 

In the front line the Battalion remained four days. On December 
16th the enemy fired about 50 gas shells into the front trench, supple- 
menting this bombardment by trench mortar shelling of the support 
and reserve lines. Neither the gas shells nor the trench mortar bombs 
troubled the Royal Montrealers appreciably, nor did enemy aero- 
planes which attacked in the afternoon, but were driven off by British 
planes, assisted by anti-aircraft fire from machine guns. 

At 7 p.m. on December 19th the Battalion was relieved by the 13th 
Battalion, Nos. 1 and 4 Companies moving to support positions in 
Lievin, and Headquarters, with Nos. 2 and 3 Companies, withdrawing 
to Brigade Reserve at Souchez Huts. On December 23rd the main 
section of the Battalion marched to St. Lawrence Camp and entered 
Divisional Reserve, Nos. 1 and 4 Companies withdrawing from Lievin 
and rejoining the unit that same night. 

At St. Lawrence Camp the Royal Montreal Regiment passed its 
fourth Christmas away from Canada and its third on the soil of 
France. No parades were ordered, but in the morning Lieut.-Col. 
McCombe investigated the case of Private J. Adams, who had been 
arrested on Christmas Eve, charged with brawling and attacking men 
of a 4th Divisional battalion. The O.C. the battalion in question 
arrived to associate himself with Col. McCombe, and the enquiry at 
once began. One by one battered members of the 4th Division reluc- 
tantly testified that Adams was responsible for their deplorable condi- 
tion. When nearly a dozen had given evidence, the 4th Division 
colonel called a halt. ‘‘Just a minute”, said he; “am I to under- 
stand that the assortment of black eyes presented for our inspection 
this morning represent the work of one individual?” When assured 
that such was the case, the colonel turned to Lieut.-Col. McCombe. 
“As a favour to me ”, he said, “ please dismiss Private Adams without 
punishment. Any man who can lick a dozen of my men commands 
my respect and admiration ”. In view of the fact that Adams had 
fought in self-defence, Lieut.-Col. McCombe complied with this 
request, dismissing the prisoner with a reprimand. 



190 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



III 

January 1st, 1918, found the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment, still at St. Lawrence Camp in Divisional Reserve. Snow fell at 
intervals during the day, the white fields and the clean, open land- 
scape reminding the men of New Year’s Days in Canada when war 
was far from anyone’s thoughts. War obtruded itself on this occa- 
sion, however, for in the morning an enemy plane approached the 
camp, but was driven off by machine guns. 

For a week after New Year the Battalion remained at St. Law- 
rence Camp, occupied in routine training, varied on the evening of 
January 6th when 275 other ranks attended a revue by the 3rd Cana- 
dian Divisional Concert Party at Gouy Servins. On the morning 
following this entertainment the Battalion marched to the Reserve 
Area, Houdain, where routine training was resumed. At this point 
Lieut. T. Hodgson, M.C., M.M., who, following promotion from the 
ranks, had served as Battalion Scout Officer, left the unit on a secret 
mission. For months no news of him reached the 14th, but eventually 
it became known that he had joined the mission headed by Major- 
General L. C. Dunsterville, C.B., C.S.I., operating in Persia and the 
Near East. 

A few days after Lieut. Hodgson’s departure, No. 444193 Sergeant 
A. J. Mahar, who had enlisted in the 55th Battalion in May, 1915, 
and had been drafted to the 14th Battalion in August of the same 
year, also left to join General Dunsterville’s secret expedition. The 
subsequent travels of this N.C.O. illustrate rather vividly the wide- 
spread nature of the Great War. His itinerary was as follows: — 



Embarked Southampton, England 
Debarked Cherbourg, France - 


29- 1-18 

30- 1-18 


Embarked Taranto, Italy - - - - 

Debarked Alexandria, Egypt - 


10- 2-18 


Embarked Suez, Egypt ----- 
Debarked Ivoweit, Arabia - 


17- 2-18 
2- 3-18 


Embarked Koweit, Arabia - 

Debarked Basrah, Mesopotamia - - - 


2- 3-18 


Wounded Baku District, S.E. of Caucasus 
Hospital Kazian, Persia ----- 


31- 8-18 
2- 9-18 



1918 



WINTER ON THE LENS FRONT 



191 



After recovering from his injury (a gunshot wound in the right 
shoulder), Sergt. Mahar saw the break-up of Dunsterforce and then 
volunteered for the British Military Mission to Siberia, under Major- 
General Sir A. W. F. Knox. He was accepted and : — 

Embarked Basrah, Mesopotamia - 23-11-18 

Touched at Bombay, India - 
Touched at Hong Kong, China - 

Debarked Vladivostock, Siberia - 16- 1-19 

Served in Siberia for nearly 10 months and 

sailed for home, Canada - - - 1-11-19 

On January 9th the Battalion’s blankets w'ere fumigated; on the 
14th a number of men were given special practice in use of the tump 
line; and on the 18th Major-Gen. A. C. Macdonell visited the Battalion 
to inspect the training. Two nights later Major-Gen. Macdonell and 
Brig. -Gen. G. S. Tuxford honoured the Battalion by dining in the Offi- 
cers’ Mess. 

On January 23rd reveille sounded at 5.30 o’clock, breakfast was 
served at 6.30, sick parade w r as held at 6.45, and at 8.20 the unit march- 
ed, via Maisnil-les-Ruitz, Barlin, Hersin, Sains-en-Gohelle, and Fosse 
10, to Bully Grenay. En route the Battalion marched past Lieut.-Gen. 
Sir A. W. Currie, Commander of the Canadian Corps, who took the 
salute and gave the unit careful scrutiny. At Bully Grenay training 
continued, the sole variation from the usual drills and practices being 
provided by a series of lectures on “ The History of the Regiment ”, 
designed to give men of recent drafts a knowledge of what the Bat- 
talion had accomplished during its thirty-four months in France. 

At night on January 31st, the 14th Battalion relieved the 5th 
Canadian Battalion in the Hill 70 Sector of the front line, No. 3 Coy. 
taking over the right front and No. 2 Coy. the left, with Nos. 4 and 1 
Companies providing the respective supports. Soon after taking over 
the front, a patrol pushed forward to examine the enemy w'ire and 
was met with a shower of hand grenades and concentrated rifle fire, 
one man being killed and the remainder forced to retire. Unwilling 
that a body should fall into German hands and provide identification 
of the Regiment, the Scout Officer remained in No Man’s Land until 
the bombing and rifle fire had died down. He then returned to the 
man who had been killed, lifted his body, and started back to the 
Canadian lines. At this juncture the Germans opened fire with rifles 
and a machine gun, despite which he persisted in his mission and 
reached his own front in safety. 



192 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



Visibility was good on February 2nd, observers reporting much 
movement back of the enemy lines and calling attention of the artillery 
to several attractive targets. Considering that the movement during 
daylight indicated activity after dark, the Brigade machine guns and 
the Canadian field batteries carried out several “ shoots ” during the 
night, concentrating fire on the approaches to the German line and on 
those points where aeroplanes had fixed the location of enemy dumps. 

Machine gunners on both sides were active on February 4th, and 
on the 5th Canadian 6-inch Stokes guns bombarded positions where 
machine gun emplacements were thought to exist. Previous to this, 
t lie Stokes guns had demolished two houses behind the German lines, 
where carrying parties indicated that some construction was in prog- 
ress. Retaliation to the fire of the Stokes guns was undertaken by 
German trench mortars which wrecked the front of No. 2 Coy., killing 
two men and wounding two severely. Less successful was a bombard- 
ment on February 6th, when gas shells, mixed with high explosive, 
poured on the support line without causing serious damage, or inflicting 
casualties. 

On the morning of February 7th enemy artillery shelled the Royal 
Montreal position and at noon retaliation was asked for. This was 
satisfactorily supplied by 3 8-pounders and heavy trench mortars, the 
German fire dying away in mid-afternoon and offering no hindrance 
to the 13th Battalion, which completed relief at 11 p.m. When the 
Highlanders took over the front, Headquarters and No. 1 Coy. of the 
14th Battalion moved back to the Village Line, and Nos. 2, 3, and 
4 Companies billeted in Loos. 

For nine days the Battalion remained in the reserve positions taken 
over on the night of February 7th, supplying strong parties each night 
to dig communication trenches, construct defended localities, carry 
material, and string double-apron barbed wire. On several occasions 
these parties included every man who could be spared from other 
duties. At night on February 16th the Royal Montreal Regiment 
marched to Bully Grcnay and there entered Divisional Reserve. No 
parades were ordered on the 17th, as the men were tired after the 
nightly working parties and badly in need of rest. The holiday also 
provided an opportunity for repair of clothing and equipment, which 
had suffered from the heavy nature of the work accomplished. 

After eight days in Divisional Reserve the Battalion formed up at 
the iron gates on the main street of Bully Grcnay and marched to 
relieve the 10th Canadian Battalion in the St. Emile Sector of the 



1918 



WINTER OX THE LENS FRONT 



193 



front line, Nos. 1 and 3 Companies taking over the actual front, with 
Nos. 2 and 4 Companies supplying the supports. In its new position 
the front of the Battalion extended between Nestor and Nabob Com- 
munication Trenches. 

Indicating the changed situation on the western front at this time, 
as compared with that existing in February, 1917, a defence scheme 
drawn up by Major A. T. Powell, D.S.O., was issued to the 14th 
Battalion under date of February 28th. In this scheme Major Powell 
sketched the defensive possibilities of the area and issued instructions 
applicable to several eventualities. He pointed out that in the area 
were three defended localities, known respectively as “ Thursday ”, 
“ Friday ”, and “ Saturday ”, and explained that work on the wiring 
of these would be required during the tour in the line. He illustrated 
how these localities could be used to check a German attack, but 
emphasized the importance of holding the front line and definitely 
ordered the men of the 14th to stand fast, come what might. 

In further analysis of action to be taken should the enemy attack. 
Major Powell ordered all officers to consider five forms which the 
operation might assume, namely: — 

(1) A Raid 

(2) Trench Snatching 

(3) A local attack, with limited objectives 

(4) A great attack on a wide front 

(5) A gas attack. 

Officers were ordered to give thought to these possibilities and to 
acquaint subordinates with the action to be taken should any of the 
five occur. Special arrangements regarding S.O.S. signals were com- 
municated in a supplement to the defence scheme. The Brigade S.O.S. 
was to be a succession of gold and silver rain rockets, repeated until 
the call for help was answered. In addition, officers were instructed 
to forward the S.O.S. by every means available, including, as circum- 
stances might dictate, telephone, buzzer, or visual signalling. Bat- 
talions were instructed to arrange S.O.S. relay stations and to keep 
them manned continuously. In forwarding S.O.S. calls, officers were 
ordered to state whether the appeal was for defence against attacking 
infantry, attacking tanks, or against hostile gas which might cover 
an attack. 

From February 25th until March 6th the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment remained in the front line, working on the construction of 
defences, sending out defensive night patrols, and suffering appreci- 
ably from the activity of enemy artillery, trench mortars, aeroplanes, 



194 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



and machine guns, among the casualties being Lieut. B. M. Watson, 
who was killed in action on March 3rd. On the night of March 2nd 
the Germans sent a raid against the Battalion front without success, 
two parties being seen by Royal Montreal sentries and driven back 
before they could penetrate the Canadian wire. 

It is impossible to enumerate the bombardments during this tour 
in the line, or give details of the frequent Regimental patrols. The 
tables which follow, however, illustrate in a measure how active the 
tour was. The first lists the patrols on the night of March lst/2nd, 
and the second lists the fire of hostile artillery between 6 a.m. and 12 
noon on March 3rd. 



TABLE No. 1 

Patrol No. 1 — 1 officer and 5 other ranks. 

Out 7.30 p.m. In 9.30 p.m. 
Patrol No. 2 — 2 N.C.O’s. and 6 men. 

Out 7.30 p.m. In 9.20 p.m. 
Patrol No. 3 — 2 N.C.O’s. and 6 men. 

Out 7.20 p.m. In 9.15 p.m. 
Patrol No. 4 — 2 N.C.O’s. and 6 men. 

Out. 3.30 a.m. In 5 a.m. 





TABLE No. 2 




8.15 a.m. 


2 rounds 


Field Gun. 


9.15 a.m. 


8 rounds 


Field Gun. 


9.35 a.m. 


12 rounds 


Field Gun. 


9.50 a.m. 


7 rounds 


Light Field Gun. 


10.15 a.m. 


8 rounds 


Light Field Gun. 


10.30 a.m. 


10 rounds 


Heavy Howitzer. 


10.45 a.m. 


7 rounds 


Field Gun. 


11.00 a.m. 


15 rounds 


Field Gun. 


11.25 a.m. 


12 rounds 


Field Gun. 


11.55 a.m. 


8 rounds 


Heavy Gun. 


11.59 a.m. 


7 rounds 


Gas shells. 



Following relief by the 13th Battalion on March 6th, the 14th 
Battalion took up Brigade Support positions in Cite St. Pierre, and 
there remained for one week, supplying frequent parties for work on 
reserve and communication trenches. At 7.35 a.m. on March 8th the 



1918 



WINTER OX THE LENS FRONT 



195 



enemy fired about 500 rounds of high explosive and gas shells into 
Cite St. Pierre, but failed to inflict casualties on the Battalion, which, 
five days later, marched to a camp in the Bois de Froissart, near 
Hersin, and there entered Corps Reserve. 

Though the spring of 1918 brought the certainty of German attack, 
and all ranks of the Canadian Corps were trained in the defensive, 
the fact that the war would be won by offensive fighting was never 
lost to sight. Accordingly, on March 14th, 26 officers and 53 N.C.O’s. 
of the 14th Battalion proceeded to Braquemont to attend a lecture on 
co-operation with tanks; and on March 18th the 13th and 14th Bat- 
talions combined in manoeuvres with the VII Tank Battalion and 
contact planes of the Royal Air Force. In these manoeuvres a com- 
pany of tanks, under command of Major J. W. Winters, supported the 
infantry in a two-phase attack, involving capture of a Green Line, 
between the Bois de Noulette and the Bois de Bouvigny, and later of 
a Yellow Line some distance beyond. So spirited were the manoeu- 
vres and so eagerly did the troops carry out their part that the aspect 
of the engagement closely approximated actual warfare, service caps, 
worn in place of steel helmets, alone betraying that no casualties 
were expected. 



CHAPTER XVII 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



The deep-blue heaven, curving from the green, 
Spans with its shimmering arch the flowery zone; 
In all God’s earth there is no gentler scene, 

And yet I hear that awesome monotone; 

But still I gaze afar, and at the sight 
My whole soul softens to its heartfelt prayer: 

“ Spirit of Justice, Thou for whom they fight, 

Ah, turn in mercy, to our lads out there!” 



N March 21st, 1918, Germany struck the first blow of a series 



planned to gain decisive military victory. When the United 



States of America joined the Allies in April, 1917, time became 
Germany’s enemy. Given time, the United States could place in the 
field a force sufficiently strong to bring about Germany’s downfall. 
The desperation of the German blows in the spring of 1918 is, there- 
fore, understandable. They represented a last bid for victory. To 
quote Sir Douglas Haig: “ The launching and destruction of Napo- 
leon’s last reserves at Waterloo was a matter of minutes. The corre- 
sponding German stage started on March 21, 1918, and lasted four 
months ”. 

The decision of the German Higher Command to seek victory on 
the western front in the spring of 1918 was reached in the autumn of 
the previous year. After the bitter fighting in Flanders, which culmin- 
ated with the operation of the Canadian Corps at Fasschendaele, the 
German Staff prepared the Army for the spring offensive. To this 
end divisions were moved from the Russian front and from all points 
where they could be spared, with the result that 192 divisions were 
concentrated in France and Flanders, 4(5 divisions more than in 
November, 1917. Meanwhile the divisions of the British Army, with 
the exception of the divisions of the Australian and Canadian Corps, 
had been reduced from a 12-battalion to a 9-battalion basis, and the 
front had been extended to well over 125 miles. The French front 
was longer, but was menaced by no such concentrations as faced the 
British. 

When the Germans attacked the Third and Fifth British Armies 
on March 21st, on a 50-mile front between Arras and La Fere, the 



— Sib Arthur Con ax Doyle. 



I 




1918 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



197 



Fifth Army staggered under the blow and gave ground somewhat 
alarmingly. The retreat has been described as a rout, but such a 
phrase exaggerates the situation, though applicable to limited sections 
of the front. Actually, to use the simile Clausewitz made famous, the 
retreat was that of a wounded lion, battered and broken, but unsub- 
dued, dangerous, and capable of rending any careless pursuer. 

In following the German attack of March 21st to its halting place 
within reach of Amiens, the world at large missed the significance of 
events on March 28th, when the Seventeenth German Army attacked 
General Horne’s First British Army on a 20-mile front from Puisieux 
to beyond Oppy, and was crushingly defeated. The failure ot this 
attack, planned to smash the British front and roll up \ imy Ridge, 
settled the fate of the March 21st battle, which gradually came to a 
standstill, not, however, before 46 British divisions had been engaged, 
and 8 destroyed. 

On March 29th, 1918, General Ferdinand Foch, of the French 
Army, was appointed to co-ordinate action of the British, French, and 
American Armies, his commission, however, when finally drawn up, 
specifically stating that, though he was to be Generalissimo, tactical 
direction was still the prerogative of the respective commanders-in- 
chief. Eleven days later the Germans, foiled in their effort to the 
south, shifted their attack to the Lys front and struck at a point held 
by the Portuguese Army Corps. So powerful was the blow that in 
three hours, with the exception of certain field batteries and indivi- 
duals, the Portuguese Corps had disintegrated and withdrawn from 
active part in the Great War. Following initial success, the German 
attack swept forward on a wide front, driving back many British 
divisions and uncovering defences, until Ypres and the Channel ports 
were once more in danger. Having suffered casualties of 47,000 in the 
•week ending on March 31st, 77,500 in the week ending on April 7th, 
and 48,000 in the week ending on April 14th, the British Army was 
seriously affected. On April 11th, however, Sir Douglas Haig issued 
an order showing that Germany had employed 106 divisions without 
separating the British from the French, capturing the Channel ports, 
or destroying the British Army. In concluding this famous order, Sir 
Douglas called on the troops under his command to stand fast: “ Every 
position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement. 
With our backs to the wall, and believing in the justice of our cause, 
each one of us must fight to the end ”. The response to this appeal 
added one more page to the long and proud chapter of British mili- 
tary history. 



198 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



Having failed in his effort to capture the Channel ports and destroy 
the British Army, the enemy, on May 27th, struck at the French 
between Soissons and Rheims. In the battle which followed the IX 
British Army Corps, composed of the 8th, 21st, 25th, and 50th Divi- 
sions, was cut to pieces, and later the 19th British Division also suf- 
fered severely. At the time no public mention of the presence of the 
IX Corps and the 19th Division was permitted, possibly in deference 
to the French, whose Intelligence Department refused to accept the 
British Corps Commander’s warning that an attack on his front was 
being mounted. General Duchene, Commanding the Sixth French 
Army, insisted that the front was quiet and a suitable place for the 
British Corps, exhausted after the March and April fighting, to rest. 
When the blow fell the British troops fought magnificently. They were 
overwhelmed, and the world heard nothing of their devotion, but 
General Maistre, Commanding the Army Group to which they were 
attached, has recorded his profound gratitude for the self-sacrificing 
service they rendered. 

Two weeks after the attack in which the IX Corps suffered so 
severely, the enemy struck again at the French between Noyon and 
Montdidier, following this effort a week later by a great blow at 
Rheims. For a time the enemy drove the troops of our Ally before 
him, but by mid-July the French had stiffened their defence and, with 
the aid of American reinforcements, were more than holding their own. 
On July 18th Marshal Foch launched a successful counter-attack 
which marked the turning point in the 1918 campaign. Germany had 
shot her bolt; retribution was at hand. 

II 

While the battles of the spring were being fought to the north and 
south, the Canadian Corps was comparatively inactive. In March 
and April it held front line trenches, which were heavily bombarded 
on occasions, but were never the direct object of enemy attack. Then, 
on May 7th, the Corps, less the 2nd Canadian Division which was 
temporarily attached to the VI British Corps, was withdrawn to 
form part of a special striking force, known as “ G.H.Q. Reserve ”, or 
“Army Special Reserve ”. 

Long before this the Corps had recovered from the losses suffered 
in the autumn of 1917, and regained the condition which had carried 
Vimy, Hill 70, and Passchendaele. Its divisions had been maintained 
on a 12-battalion basis; its battalions had been kept at full 



1918 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



199 



strength; its four divisions were served by five divisional artilleries; 
its personnel possessed esprit-de-corps; its higher command included 
generals of ability and staff officers competent to a marked degree; 
and its auxiliary services were unrivalled on the western front. Real- 
izing that these factors made the Corps the strongest individual strik- 
ing weapon in Europe, and that, sooner or later, such a weapon would 
be required, Sir Douglas Haig and Lieut.-Gen. Sir A. W. Currie resist- 
ed all temptation to dissipate its strength in defensive fighting, and 
saved it against the inevitable hour of need. 

When the German offensive opened on March 21st, the 14th Bat- 
talion was lying in Divisional Support at Bully Grenay. News of the 
battle was received on March 22nd, and on the 23rd the Battalion 
entered Army Reserve. On the 24th, following communication of a 
Special Order by Sir Douglas Haig, all ranks were kept close to 
billets, and preparations were made to move on short notice. At mid- 
night on March 25th the Battalion “ stood to ” in expectation of orders 
for an immediate advance. Later the “stand to” was cancelled, but 
not before all officers and other ranks attached to the 3rd Australian 
Tunnelling Coy. and to the 1st Field Coy., Canadian Engineers, 
received orders to report back to the Battalion without delay. 

At 6 a.m. on March 27th the Battalion fell in at Bully Grenay, 
marched thence to Boyefffes Chateau, and there joined the other bat- 
talions of the 3rd Brigade in a march to Canada Camp, Chateau de la 
Haie, where the Brigade continued to act as Army Reserve. Through- 
out the day the troops were interested in the coming and going of 
messengers and in the tension which obviously prevailed at Battalion 
Headquarters. Realizing the possible significance of such activity, a 
larger percentage of men than usual attended Protestant and Roman 
Catholic sendees, the former conducted by Canon Scott, one-time 
Chaplain of the Regiment, and the latter by Father Murdock, Catho- 
lic Chaplain of the 3rd Brigade. 

At 11 p.m. Major Arthur Plow, the Adjutant, was called to Brigade 
Headquarters to receive orders. Returning on the run 25 minutes 
later, Major Plow summoned the officers and announced a move. No 
time to issue written instructions was allowed, the Battalion marching 
in 20 minutes to the football field, Chateau de la Haie, where the 3rd 
Brigade assembled. As anti-climax to the hurried departure from 
camp, the Brigade waited for busses until 3.20 a.m., but once these 
arrived delay ended, the troops being whirled to Marieux, where they 
were instructed to breakfast in the open fields. During the meal a 
German plane evinced curiosity, but no desire to attack. Shortly 



200 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



after noon the Battalion marched, via Thievres, to Famechon, where 
a halt was made to await more busses. At 4 p.m. these arrived, the 
men embussing and 75% of them reaching Calvary Camp, Agnez- 
lez-Duisans, in due course. The remainder, through error, debussed 
at Wanquetin and reached Calvary Camp late at night. 

Tired and soaking after the long bus journey in pouring rain, the 
men of the 14t;h expected to sleep at Calvary Camp, but at 3.55 a.m. 
the unit marched to Brigade Support in Ronville Caves, under verbal 
orders from Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford to counter-attack should the 
enemy break through at Telegraph Hill. In Ronville Caves, a vast 
cavern capable of accommodating more than a brigade of infantry, 
and extending under the heart of the city of Arras, the Battalion 
rested on March 29th and 30th. On the latter date “ stand to ” was 
practised at 5 a.m., the companies and all sections being ready to 
march in less than 20 minutes. At night 3 other ranks were killed 
and 7 wounded when, not far from an entrance to the Cave, a party 
was caught by shell fire. These brought the Battalion casualties for 
the month to a total of 11 killed and 25 wounded. 

In March the authorized strength of infantry battalions of the 
Canadian Corps was increased by 100 other ranks, bringing the estab- 
lishment to a total of 46 officers, including authorized attached, and 
1,072 other ranks. On March 31st the effective strength of the Royal 
Montreal Regiment was 45 officers and 1,012 other ranks, though the 
fighting strength was but 37 officers and 792 other ranks. The dis- 
crepancy between the strengths was made up as follows: — 

On Leave: — 3 officers and 118 other ranks. 

Sick: — 1 officer. 

On Command: — 4 officers and 102 other ranks. 

March 31st, 1918, found the Battalion still in Ronville Caves, 
while the transport of the whole 3rd Brigade occupied lines in Agnez- 
lez-Duisans, about 8 kilometres away. From Ronville Caves the 
Battalion sent out a working party of 8 officers, 24 N.C.O’s., and 240 
men. This party, organized as a fighting unit, was commanded by 
Major R. C. MacKenzie, D.S.O., with Capt. D. W. Clarkson, M.C., 
as second-in-command, and Lieut. E. G. T. Penny, M.C., as adjutant. 
Shelling for a time interfered with the party, despite which 1,200 
yards of double-apron wire were erected. On April 2nd another party 
installed over 1,000 yards of wire. This party was commanded by 
Major A. T. Powell, D.S.O., with Capt. J. H. Richardson, and Lieut. 
A. L. McLean, M.C., D.C.M., serving respectively as second-in-com- 



1918 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



201 



mand and adjutant. As in the case of the April 1st party, shelling 
interfered with the wiring, but failed to inflict casualties. 

At 8.20 p.m. on April 5th the Battalion left Ronville Caves and 
advanced to relieve the 4th Canadian Battalion in the Telegraph 
Hill Sector of the front line. Previous to this the rear details of the 
3rd Brigade battalions had been formed into an emergency battalion, 
capable of counter-attacking should the enemy penetrate the front 
line. Command of this composite battalion was assumed by Lieut. - 
Col. C. W. Peck, D.S.O., Commanding Officer of the 16th Battalion, 
and No. 2 Coy. of the unit, formed from the rear details of the 14th 
Battalion, was placed under the orders of Major Arthur Plow, 
M.C., M.M. 

On relieving the 4th Battalion, No. 1 Coy. of the Royal Montreal 
Regiment took over the left half of the front and No. 3 Coy. the right 
half, with Nos. 2 and 4 Companies supplying support. In these posi- 
tions the companies passed two days, marked by shelling, but by no 
incident of outstanding interest. Early on the morning of April 8th 
the Battalion was relieved by the 1st London Regiment and marched 
to Agny, entraining there and reaching Berneville at 8 a.m. At 5.30 
o’clock that afternoon the Battalion embussed and was carried to the 
Feuchy-Fampoux Sector, where it relieved the 2nd Battalion, Sea- 
forth Highlanders, in support. On the following day Nos. 1 and 3 
Companies moved back into reserve positions, previously occupied by 
the 16th Battalion. Simultaneously, the Battalion Transport and the 
3rd Brigade “ Special Battalion ” moved from Agnez-lez-Duisans to 
Ecoivres. When near Acq, the “ Special ” column, at the moment 
under command of Major Plow, encountered shell fire directed by a 
German plane, which was avoided only by a detour of several miles. 
Compensation for inconvenience was later derived by the troops from 
new r s that the German plane had been driven down by a British 
machine and captured by Canadian soldiers billeted near Ecoivres. 

After two days in support the 14th Battalion advanced on the 
night of April 11th and relieved the 8th Canadian Battalion in the 
front line (Feuchy-Fampoux Sector), where it remained until relieved 
by the 1st and 4th Canadian Battalions on the night of April 13th. 
Relief on this occasion was completed at 1.35 a.m., the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment then moving back to Corps Reserve in Aubrey Camp. 

At 4 o’clock on the morning of April 19th the 14th Battalion suf- 
fered a severe blow when a shell crashed into the Nissen hut occupied 
by Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe and three officers of Battalion Head- 
quarters. Lieut. -Col. McCombe, who had served the Battalion since 



202 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1018 



its earliest days, had suffered wounds on two occasions, and, in addi- 
tion to gaining the D.S.O., had been four times mentioned in 
despatches, was seriously injured. Major A. T. Powell, D.S.O., Second- 
in-Command of the Battalion, who had won distinction in the counter- 
attack at Mount Sorrel and in many engagements since that time, 
was wounded beyond hope of recovery, and died about 10 o’clock that 
same morning. Major Arthur Plow, M.C., M.M., Regimental Adju- 
tant, was killed instantly. He enlisted in the Battalion in August, 
1914, suffered wounds in 1916 and 1917, and at all times set an exam- 
ple of courage under adverse conditions. Testimony to the place he 
held in the esteem of his men and in that of officers of the 3rd Brigade 
was furnished that afternoon, when his body was committed to the 
grave in the presence of Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, representatives of 
the 13th, 15th, and 16th Battalions, and a full parade of officers and 
men of the Royal Montreal Regiment. The fourth victim of the 
explosion was Major R. C. MacKenzie, a fearless officer who had 
risen from the ranks to command of No. 1 Coy. Major MacKenzie 
had suffered wounds on two previous occasions, but each time had 
rejoined the Battalion with as little delay as possible. This time a 
badly injured hip, complicated later by gas gangrene, meant that his 
period of loyal service had ended. 

On the wounding of Lieut.-Col. McCombe and the death of Major 
Powell, command of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, 
passed to Major Dick Worrall, M.C., a soldier-adventurer whose 
career had been varied. Born in England, Major Worrall had wan- 
dered far and wide, the outbreak of war in August, 1914, finding him 
in the ranks of the American Army. Heeding the call of Britain, 
Worrall crossed the Canadian border and enlisted in the overseas unit 
being raised by the 1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards. His 
record with the 14th Battalion can be traced in the past pages of this 
book ; his record as Commanding Officer will be set down in the pages 
which follow. Shortly after he assumed command, Capt. C. B. Price, 
D.C.M., was recalled to Regimental duty as Second-in-Command, and 
Lieut. D. MacRitchie became Adjutant. Battalion Headquarters, there- 
fore. was officered by men who had previously served in the ranks. 

Ill 

At 8.20 p.m. on April 21st the Battalion advanced to relieve the 
7th Canadian Battalion in the Gavrelle Sector of the front line, the 
rear details, under Capt. J. W. Maynard, joining other units of the 



1918 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



203 



3rd Brigade and forming a “ Special Battalion ”, similar to that 
brought into being at Telegraph Hill earlier in the month. On taking 
over the front, Lieut. B. T. Jackson, Lieut. G. B. McKean, Corp. 
Dixon, and other officers and men of the Battalion devoted time to 
reconnaissances for a raid in which the 14th and 16th Battalions were 
to co-operate on the early morning of April 27th. 

In a Special Operation Order, dated April 25th, Lieut. -Col. Dick 
Worrall explains the raid plan. In effect, his orders were: — 

(1) Intention: — The 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 
Regiment, in conjunction with the 16th Battalion, 
Canadian Scottish, will raid the enemy trenches on 
the night of April 26/27. [Note: — Later the date 
was changed to April 27/28.] 

(2) Organization and Command: — Lieut. J. Patterson, 
D.C.M., will command the raiding party, which will 
be divided into six groups, lettered A to F. 

“A” Group (Lieut. B. A. Neville) will consist 
of 25 other ranks, including Lewis gun 
personnel. 

“B” Group (Lieut. M. E. Beckett) will consist 
of 25 other ranks, including Lewis gun 
personnel. 

“C” Group (Lieut. Gordon Beattie) will con- 
sist of 20 O.R. 

“D” Group (Lieut. R. J. Allan) will consist 
of 10 O.R. 

“E” Group (Lieut. G. B. McKean) will con- 
sist of 15 other ranks, including Lewis gun 
personnel. 

“F” Group (Lieut. S. J. McEwen) will consist 
of 25 other ranks, including Lewis gun 
personnel. 

In addition 1 scout and 1 stretcher-bearer 
will be attached to each group. 

(3) Assembly: — All groups must be in position 30 min- 
utes before zero. 

‘‘A” Group: — Right flank to rest on Cable 
Avenue. 

“B" Group: — Left flank to be in touch with 
Canadian Scottish. 



204 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



“C” Group: — To be in two parties, supporting 
"A” and “B” Groups respectively. They 
will assemble 25 yards in the rear of “A” 
and “B” Groups. 

“D” Group: — Will assemble in Cable Avenue. 

“E” Group: — Will assemble in Hussar Trench. 

“F” Group:— Will assemble in Cable Avenue in 
rear of “C” Group. 

A party under Lieut. B. T. Jackson wdll 
cover the assembly of “A” and “B” 
Groups. 

(4) Duties of Groups: — 

“A” and “B” Groups will follow the barrage as 
closely as possible, will mop up listening posts (if 
any) in No Man’s Land, and will enter the enemy 
front line immediately the barrage lifts. 

“C” Group will support “A” and “B” Groups. “C” 
Group will remain on this side of the enemy para- 
pet, ready to go to the assistance of any section 
that has difficulty in entering the enemy trenches. 
“D” Group will push along Cable Avenue, mopping 
up the garrison of the block in this Avenue. “D” 
Group will post 3 bombers to prevent the enemy 
from retiring from his newly-built trench. 

“E” Group will push along Hussar Trench, will mop 
up enemy blocks, will form a block of their own, 
and will post a Lewis gun so as to deal with a 
possible counter-attack from the south. 

“F” Group will push along Cable Avenue, will work 
up in front of “D” Group, and will form a block. 
A section of “F” Group will mop up along Hoary 
Trench to the point where the tramway crosses the 
trench. 

(5) Signal to Withdraw: — Six red ground flares will be 
lit along Trent Trench at zero plus 40 minutes. 

(G) Method of Withdrawal: — “F” Group withdraws 
first. “A” and “B” withdraw next, followed by “C”, 
which will cover their withdrawal. “D” Group 
withdraws next, followed by “E” Group, which 
returns via Hudson and Lemon Trenches. 



1918 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



205 



(7) Artillery: — Heavy and Field Artillery will co-oper- 
ate. A creeping and box barrage will be arranged 
as follows: — 

Zero to zero plus 10 minutes — Plays on enemy 
front line. 

Zero plus 10 minutes to zero plus 30 minutes — 
Plays on enemy second line. 

Zero plus 30 minutes — Changes to box barrage, 
and stands awaiting further orders. 

(8) Equipment: — Lewis gun sections to carry 12 maga- 
zines. Other ranks to carry rifle with bayonet fixed, 
6 Mills bombs, 50 rounds small arm ammunition. 
Groups “D” and “E” will each carry 3 ammonal 
tubes. Each section of “A” and “B” Groups will 
carry a mobile charge. The two sections of “F” 
Group will each carry a mobile charge. Three men 
of each blocking party will carry shovels. 

(9) Concealment: — Bayonets, hands, and faces will be 
blackened. 

(10) Medical: — O.C. No. 4 Coy. wall detail 12 stretcher- 
bearers. Advanced Regimental Aid Post will be in 
Northumberland Lane. 

(11) Prisoners: — Too large escorts must not be provided. 
N.C.O’s. in charge of sections must not bring prison- 
ers back. No. 4 Coy. will take charge of prisoners 
once they reach our front line. 

(12) Headquarters: — Lieut. Patterson will establish his 
H.Q. at our block in Cable Avenue. 

(13) Captured Men: — All ranks must be warned that, if 
captured, they are not obliged to give any informa- 
tion except their name and number. Group com- 
manders will warn their men, if captured, to guard 
against the German use of “ stool pigeons ”. 

(14) Identifications: — Everything that can be carried will 
be brought back to our lines. Enemy dead, if too 
far away to be brought in, must be stripped of 
papers and identifications. The Germans usually 
carry letters in the tail pockets of their tunics. 

(15) Our Casualties: — Dead must be brought back to 
our lines. Wounded will be cared for by parties 
detailed for the purpose. Raiders must not stay 



20(5 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



with wounded, or carry them back, while the raid 
is in progress. 

(16) Synchronization: — Watches will be synchronized at 
6 p.m., 8 p.m., and 10 p.m. 

(17) Conclusion: — The purpose of the raid is to obtain 
identifications and kill Huns. 

On April 26th Lieut. -Col. Worrall issued an order amplifying and 
amending the previous order. Chief among the amendments were 
those covering the barrage and those which moved “F” Group’s retire- 
ment from first place on the list to last. The changed barrage was to 
strike as follows: — 

Zero to zero plus 20 minutes — Enemy front line. 
Zero plus 20 minutes — Lifts to 2nd line and there 
forms a standing box. 

Shortly after midnight on April 27th the officers and men of the 
14th who were to raid the enemy line moved silently to the assembly. 
Something in the secrecy of the occasion, in the tense quality of the 
silence, and in the diablerie of the black-faced figures who, with black 
bayonets fixed, moved in obedience to low-spoken commands, stirred 
the imagination of observers, who found themselves shivering with 
excitement, and with a strange sensation, nameless, yet akin to fear. 
Something ghastly was to happen; men alive at the moment would 
not see dawn; some would die in dugouts far below the ground; there 
would be shouts, cries, groans; the crack of rifles, the blinding flash 
of high explosive; the courage, the ferocity, the savagery, the fierce 
joy, the madness, of those hours when humans exterminate their kind. 

At 1 a. m. the artillery opened fire and the raiders crossed No 
Man’s Land. The barrage fell on the German front line and was so 
accurately placed that the raiders “ leaned on it”, stating afterwards 
that it was the most wonderful they had ever seen. The moment it 
lifted Lieut. B. A. Neville led “A” Group into the German trench, 
where opposition was immediately encountered, a German officer, with 
courage which roused admiration, charging at the head of a party of 
his men. During the “free-for-all” which followed the officer was 
shot through the head, whereupon resistance ceased. Proceeding along 
the trench “A” Group took three prisoners from one dugout and three 
from another. Other Germans in these dugouts refused to come up 
and were killed by mobile charges. Meanwhile the Lewis gun section 
attached to “A” Group sighted five Germans. Two of these were 
immediately killed and the other three driven into the British box 



19 IS 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



207 



barrage. Shortly after this, a party of the enemy counter-attacked, 
but was repulsed with bombs and the bayonet, all its members being 
killed, except two men, who surrendered. 

The experience of “ B ” Group was similar to that of “A”. On 
entering the enemy trench opposition was overcome by use of the 
bayonet, and later a German machine gun was put out of action by 
a rifle grenade and by a sudden attack, in which Lieut. M. E. Beckett 
shot down No. 1 of the gun’s crew. Proceeding from the spot where 
this encounter took place, “ B ” Group bombed a number of dugouts, 
continuing operations until red flares burning along Trent Trench 
signalled the recall. In their work the men of “ B ” Group were 
assisted by “ C ” Group, who, finding that their support role was 
unnecessary, joined in the fighting under command of Lieut. G. 
Beattie, who personally shot down an enemy bomber. 

Meanwhile “ I) ” Group was courageously led by Lieut. R. J. Allan, 
who killed a German at a point where progress was blocked and ably 
directed rifle grenade fire against an enemy machine gun. Following 
the burst of a volley of rifle grenades, “ D ” Group rushed the machine 
gun, which was captured intact, together with several of its crew. 
Meanwhile, “ F ” Group had advanced to the attack and had been 
momentarily held up by an apron of concertina barbed wire. Pushing 
through this. Lieut. S. J. McEwen shot a German N.C.O. and led his 
group against a body of the enemy, two of whom were bayoneted and 
several captured. Later two more Germans were bayoneted, while 
defending a “ pineapple ” thrower, which the Canadians captured. 

“ E ” Group, led by Lieut. G. B. McKean, M.M., had the hardest 
task of all. Hussar Trench was manned by a garrison which decided 
to fight to the end. Choosing a block in the trench as a suitable point 
for defence, the Germans held back the Canadians with bombs and 
rifle fire. Three times Lieut, McKean’s party exhausted its supply 
of bombs and sent back to the Royal Montreal front line for more. 
And still the German block barred all progress. Realizing that time 
was slipping by, Lieut. McKean bade his men stand clear. Revolver 
in hand, he then ran, and dived head first over the obstruction. Crash- 
ing into a German, who seemed to be the enemy leader, Lieut. McKean 
bore him to earth, and killed him with a revolver shot. Simultaneously, 
the men of “ E Group swarmed over the barricade, swept aside 
opposition, and advanced against a second barricade further along 
the trench. Here the defending force fought for several minutes, 
retreating eventually to take refuge in a dugout. Approaching this 
dugout, Sergeant Jones called on the Germans to surrender and, receiv- 



208 



1918 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 

ing no reply, threw a mobile charge down the entrance. This charge 
destroyed the dugout and almost certainly killed those within. Unfor- 
tunately, a fragment from the explosion struck Jones, who was 
instantly killed. 

So ended the highly-successful raid on the morning of April 28th. 
In a recapitulation of events submitted to Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, 
Lieut.-Col. Worrall gives the following information: — 

14th Battalion Casualties: — 

Killed ------ 2 other ranks. 

Seriously wounded - 1 other rank. 

Slightly wounded - - - 10 other ranks. 

Enemy Casualties: — 

Prisoners (some slightly wounded) - 22 

Prisoners (seriously wounded) - 2 

Prisoners (died of wounds) - - 2 

Enemy killed (estimated) 40 

Material Captured: — 

2 light machine guns. 

1 box and belt for same. 

1 pineapple thrower. 

1 spool of telephone wire. 

1 tripod, with registration instruments attached. 

3 maps. • 

1 bagfull of sundry identifications. 

When news of the striking success in the Gavrelle Raid spread, 
many units and individuals wired congratulations. Amongst the first 
to do so was Lieut. -Gen. Sir A. W. Currie, G.O.C. the Canadian Corps, 
whose message follows: — 

“ Please accept and convey to General Tuxford and to 
Random and to Rowdy ’’—Random and Rowdy being code 
words identifying the 14th and 16th Battalions — “ my heartiest 
congratulations on their veiy successful raid last night. It was 
one of the most successful minor operations in the course of 
the war ”. 

Major-General A. C. Macdonell, Commanding the 1st Canadian 
Division, wired the following message: — 

“ Please accept and convey to all ranks under your com- 
mand who participated in the successful raid last night my 
heartiest congratulations ”. 



1918 



GERMANY’S GREAT EFFORT 



209 



Congratulatory messages, the generous tone of which officers and 
men of the 14th deeply appreciated, were also received from the 1st 
Canadian Infantry Brigade, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade, the 
1st Canadian Divisional Artillery, Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, Lieut.- 
Col. G. E. McCuaig, Commanding “Rufus” (the 13th Battalion), 
and from the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish. 

At night on April 28th the 14th Battalion handed over the Gavrelle 
front to the 13th and withdrew to Brigade Reserve, Battalion Head- 
quarters billeting on the Lens-Arras Road, at a spot about 2 kilometres 
from Arras, one company at Roclincourt, one at St. Catherine’s 
Switch, and two at a point a little over a mile east of Battalion II. Q. 
Here the unit remained until May 6th, when it moved to Corps 
Reserve at “ Y ” Camp, Etrun. On May 19th, under orders from 
Brigade, the Battalion marched, via Habarcq, Le Hameau, and Izel lez 
Hameau, to Manin, wdiere it entered Army Special Reserve. 



CHAPTER XVIII 



ARMY RESERVE AND TELEGRAPH 

HILL 



Rejoice, whatever anguish rend your heart, 

That God has given you, for a priceless dower, 

To live in these great times and have your part 
In Freedom’s crowning hour; 

That you may tell your sons who see the light 
High in the heavens, their heritage to take; — 

“ I saw the powers of darkness put to flight ! 

I saw the morning break!” 

— Sir Owen Seaman. 



I 

T HROUGHOUT the late spring and early summer of 1918 the 
Canadian Corps, in Special Army Reserve, trained diligently in 
anticipation of the day when Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig 
would undertake offensive action against Germany. In the Corps all 
ranks understood the purpose of the long “ rest ” period, and sought to 
perfect themselves in the attack, marvelling meanwhile at the fortitude 
and self-sacrifice displayed by the divisions of the British Army which 
were bearing the burden of Germany’s last effort to secure military 
victory. Splendid, too, were reports of courageous and sustained 
fighting by the troops of France, and news of the vast army which the 
United States of America was shipping across the Atlantic. 

On entering Army Special Reserve on May 19th, the 14th Bat- 
talion, whose ration strength included 43 officers and 814 other ranks, 
prepared to take part with other battalions of the 3rd Brigade in 
manoeuvres designed to furnish practice of brigade in attack. Fol- 
lowing extensive operations on May 21st, the Battalion spent the night 
in a wood near Lignereuil, the veterans before “ lights out ” lying 
around camp fires and yarning to less experienced members of the 
Battalion regarding battles in those far-off days before steel helmets, 
gas masks, tanks, liquid fire, and creeping barrages had been 
thought of. 

Resuming operations early on the following morning, the battalions 
conducted a series of interesting experiments in concealing machine 
gun nests by means of smoke-filled rifle grenades, in advancing against 
machine guns, and in establishing liaison with contact aeroplanes. 



1918 



ARMY SPECIAL RESERVE 



211 



Much was learned from these experiments, the results providing a 
basis for special demonstrations during battalion manoeuvres on May 
23rd. Two days after the special manoeuvres the Battalion marched 
from Manin to Ostreville, passing through the towns of Penin, Aver- 
doingt, and Marquay en route. 

On May 27th the entire Battalion practised on the rifle ranges at 
Monchy Breton, and on the following day carried out training of 
battalion in attack. On May 29th the 3rd Brigade practised brigade 
in attack, the 13th, 14th, and 16th Battalions turning into “ Germans ” 
for the occasion and driving against the devoted 15th Battalion, which 
remained “ British Orders for the operations were issued to the 
“ 14th Brandenburg Battalion ”, by an individual signing himself 
“ Ober Lieutenant F. Swartz ”, who instructed the Huns under his 
command to co-operate with the units led by “ General von Quaig ” 
and “ Col. Hans der Pecksburg ”. The records of these officers cannot 
be traced in the archives of the German Army, but those who encoun- 
tered them on May 29th, 1918, vouch for their resemblance to Lieut. - 
Cols. G. E. McCuaig, D.S.O., and C.W. Peck, D.S.O., the commanding 
officers of the 13th Royal Highlanders and the 16th Canadian Scottish. 

Early in June all ranks of the 14th were pleased by announce- 
ment that Major R. C. MacKenzie had been awarded the D.S.O. At 
the time of the announcement Major MacKenzie was in hospital con- 
valescing from the serious injuries received on the early morning of 
April 19th. News of his progress towards health, and similar reports 
regarding the condition of Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe, D.S.O. , wound- 
ed by the same shell, were received at about this time and warmly 
welcomed. Simultaneously with the posting of Major MacKenzie’s 
D.S.O., it was announced that he, Capt. T. G. Beagley, Capt. B. T. 
Jackson, Lieut. E. C. Gough, and Regimental Quartermaster-Sergeant 
H. Reid had been mentioned in despatches; also that Sergts. W. A. 
Burrell and W. G. Stevens had been awarded the Meritorious Service 
Medal. As a fitting climax to these interesting announcements came 
news that, for valour during the raid at Gavrelle on the morning of 
April 28th, His Majesty the King had bestowed on Lieut. G. B. 
McKean, M.M., that most coveted of all British military distinctions — 
the Victoria Cross. 

Following musketry practice at the Monchy Breton ranges on 
June 6th, a demonstration of message-cany ing rockets on June 7th, 
and a long route march on June 8th, the 14th Battalion paraded on 
June 11th and marched to la Thieuloye, where a halt w T as made to 
test respirators by passing the men through the specially-constructed 



212 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



gas chamber. Tactical exercises and field training were carried out 
on June 12th and 14th, and on the 15th parties of 60 men followed one 
another all morning and during the early afternoon to the baths at 
Rocourt. 

On June 16th the Battalion was to move from Ostreville to 
Ecoivres, but, owing to a sharp outbreak of influenza, the plan was 
abandoned. Several hundred men were sick, and suitable nourishment 
was hard to obtain, but the Paymaster, Capt. J. B. Patterson, scoured 
the country for eggs and, at his own expense, gave every patient an 
egg-nogg of stimulating blend. The fame of these smooth drinks 
spread, and to them many of the sick attribute rapid recovery, also 
an attempt by several other ranks to simulate influenza and reap the 
foaming reward. On June 18th Hebrew soldiers in the 14th were 
granted permission to attend a Jewish religious service held in the 
Y.M.C.A. tent at Monchy Breton, and, on the following day, ordinary 
training being disorganized by influenza, a number of men were given 
special instruction in the operation of Lewis guns. Special instruction 
in patrol work was given on several subsequent days by the Battalion 
Scout Officer, Lieut. G. B. McKean, Y.C., M.M. On the 30th of the 
month the Battalion formed up at the main cross roads in Ostreville 
at 8.00 a.m. and marched, via Monchy Breton and Magnicourt, to 
billets in Frevillers. 

Dominion Day, July 1st, was declared a holiday in the Canadian 
Corps, and given over to sport. At Tinques, between the Arras-St. Pol 
Road and the Railway, a vast arena had been laid out, with grand- 
stands on one side for senior officers, nursing sisters, and distinguished 
guests, and a natural grandstand on the other, whence the troops could 
watch the sport, undisturbed by the presence of superiors. At 10 a.m. 
the sports began, continuing until late in the afternoon, by which time 
winners in track events, field events, baseball, football, lacrosse, and 
other contests had been decided. For the sports a squad of about 20 
Royal Montrealers, under Capt. H. G. Brewer, had trained at Tinques 
for over a week. These men did well in their events and helped the 
1st Division carry off the Corps championship. 

Parading early on the morning of the 1st, the 14th Battalion 
marched to Tinques and there remained throughout the day, the men 
keenly interested in the sports and secondarily in the guests of the 
Corps, including H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught, Sir Robert Borden, 
Prime Minister of Canada, General John J. Pershing, Commander-in- 
Chief of the American forces, and many commanders of the French, 
American, and British armies. Such a gathering was unique and pre- 




OMl’ANV, 




1918 



ARMY SPECIAL RESERVE 



213 



cautions were taken against unfortunate incident, more particularly 
against aerial aggression, the likelihood of which was negatived by 
strong British defensive patrols. 

In the evening, after witnessing the 1st Divisional Concert Party 
in a well-staged revue, entitled “ Take a Chance ”, the 14th Battalion 
returned to Frevillers, whence it marched on the following day' to take 
part in a review of the 3rd Brigade at Bethonsart. On this occasion 
the Brigade was inspected by the Corps Commander, who was accom- 
panied by the Right Hon. Sir Robert Borden, the latter addressing a 
few words to the troops and taking the salute of the battalions as 
they marched back to billets. 

On July 6th the Battalion returned to the arena at Tinques to take 
part in a “ Highland Gathering ”, at which the battalions of the 3rd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade were hosts to all Highland and Scottish 
units in the neighbourhood, including the 15th (Scottish) and 51st 
(Highland) Divisions. Sports were again the chief feature of the day, 
the 14th showing excellently in the track events, but less conspicuously 
in contests of a more pronouncedly Highland nature, though Private 
Payeur, a French-Canadian member of the Regiment, was easily first 
in tossing the caber. Piping, wrestling, and tug-of-war contests 
were included in the programme, then towards evening the massed 
pipe bands of the Brigade and of the visiting battalions played 
“ Retreat ”, 284 pipers and 164 drummers marching and counter- 
marching in parallel files, affording a sight memorable even in days 
when marching battalions were met at every cross-roads. 

On the day following the Highland Gathering at Tinques, the 14th 
Battalion was paraded in the afternoon and a photograph taken for 
inclusion in the collection being made by the War Records Depart- 
ment of the Canadian Government. Shortly after this event, Lieut. - 
Col. Dick Worrall, M.C., Commanding Officer of the Battalion, was 
thrown from his horse while taking part in gymkhana practice and 
suffered a fracture of the collarbone. He was removed to hospital 
and, during his temporary absence, command passed to Major C. B. 
Price, D.C.M. Under him the Battalion, some days later, took part 
in Brigade manoeuvres, outstanding by reason of the fact that, for the 
first time, field guns were detailed to accompany the attacking waves 
of infantry'. 

II 

On July 13th, 1918, the 14th Battalion paraded in Frevillers at 
1.30 p.m. and marched, via Bethonsart and Camblain l’Abbe, to Divi- 



214 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 






sional Reserve billets in Anzin St. Aubin. Near this spot those sections 
of the Battalion not absent on working parties were reviewed at 2.30 
p.m. on July 17th by Major-General the Hon. S. C. Mewburn, who 
some time previously had succeeded Major-General, the Hon. Sir Sam 
Hughes as Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence. On the evening 
of the day following this review, the Battalion relieved the 18th Cana- 
dian Battalion in the front line at Telegraph Hill, 15 officers and 150 
other ranks of the rear details marching simultaneously, under com- 
mand of Capt. J. E. McKenna, to billets at Warlus, not far from the 
Battalion Transport lines at Berneville. 

From July 18th until July 26th the Royal Montreal Regiment 
remained in the front line at Telegraph Hill, for the first few days 
under command of Major Price and then under Lieut.-Col. Worrall, 
who returned from hospital. On the whole, the tour was uneventful, 
though shelling was brisk on several occasions and aeroplanes, both 
Allied and German, passed overhead repeatedly. For the most part 
these machines ignored the front line and proceeded to the x’ear areas 
to bomb. Gas shelling of the rear areas was also a feature of this 
period, nor was the front line neglected, troops being compelled to don 
respirators on several occasions and British gas shells undoubtedly 
forcing the Germans to do likewise. In spite of shelling and the danger 
from gas, working parties and patrols of the 14th carried out their 
duties each night of the tour, which concluded early in the morning 
of July 27th, when the 13th Battalion relieved. 

Withdrawing to Divisional Reserve near Achicourt, the Battalion 
rested until the afternoon of the 27th, when a party of 3 officers and 
400 other ranks was supplied to dig trenches in the Brigade area. A 
similar party was furnished on the 28th, and another on July 29th. 
This last date was marked by an unfortunate occurrence when a 
faulty pipe failed to clear coke gas from a dugout occupied by other 
ranks at Battalion Headquarters. Four men were poisoned, of whom 
one died immediately and one in hospital a few hours later. 

On July 3.1st the Battalion entrained at Achicourt Switch and pro- 
ceeded to Fosseux. Simultaneously, the rear details marched from 
Warlus, and the Transport and Q.M. details from Berneville. Both sec- 
tions joined the main body of the Battalion at Fosseux and brought the 
strength of the unit under Lieut.-Col. Worrall’s direct command to 
a total of 40 officers and 869 other ranks. Soon after arrival at Fos- 
seux it became clear that the Canadian Corps, following its long 
period of special training, was to undertake offensive operations. On 
July 31st the Battalion was in ignorance of where, or when, the blow 



1918 



ARMY SPECIAL RESERVE 



215 

would fall. That it would not be unduly delayed, however, was the 
opinion of those whose experience enabled them to explain that strange 
shiver of excitement which invariably affects a body of troops des- 
tined to attack in the near future. The secret of the attack was 
marvellously kept; none the less the Corps knew that action was 
imminent and knew also that, as in the past, the divisions would fail 
onlv if success were bevond the limits of endeavour. 



CHAPTER XIX 






GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



I vow to thee, my country — all earthly things above — 

Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love, 

The love that asks no questions: the love that stands the test, 
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best: 

The love that never falters, the love that pays the price, 

The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice. 



TT GUST 8th, 1918, will live in history, for on that date Field 



Marshal Sir Douglas Haig turned from the defensive and 



launched the first of a series of attacks, which halted only 
when the power of Germany had been shattered and Allied forces of 
occupation marched unopposed across the Rhine. Writing of the 
August 8th engagement, which has been named “ The Battle of 
Amiens ”, General Ludendorff admits that, though the British pos- 
sessed no great superiority, except in tanks, the German divisions 
between the Somme and the Luce were completely overwhelmed, their 
downfall causing consternation to the officers of the German Imperial 
Staff and forcing them to abandon hope of military victory. “August 
8th ”, states the General, “ was the black day of the German Army in 
the history of this war 

On July 13th General Sir Henry Rawlinson, Commander of the 
Fourth British Army, was instructed by Sir Douglas Haig to prepare 
a plan for the Amiens offensive. Four days later his draft, calling for 
an all-British attack, was approved, but subsequently, at the request 
of the French, it was altered to permit General Debenev’s First French 
Army to co-operate. Difficulties arose in regard to employment of 
the French, but were amicably settled by the respective Commanders- 
in-Chief, with the result that when the battle ended the Paris-Amiens 
Railway had been disengaged, the threat directed at the junction of 
the British and French armies had been removed, the enemy had been 
thrown back approximately to his Roye-Chaulnes line of 1916, and 
the important Chaulnes railway junction had been brought under 
Allied gun-fire. 

In structure, according to the military correspondent of the London 
“Times”, the Battle of Amiens was chiefly a Canadian battle, the 
advance of the Canadian Corps on the Luce providing the crux of the 



— Cecil Spring-Rice. 



I 




1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAT 



217 



entire operation. On the progress of the Corps depended the advance 
of the Australians to the left, and of the successive French divisions 
to the right, each of which was engaged only as the advance above it 
prospered. Explanation of why the French attack was held back is 
found in the desire of the French generals to bombard before launch- 
ing their infantry. Sir Douglas Haig counted on the value of surprise, 
and could not permit preliminary shelling to reveal his plan. He com- 
promised, therefore, and agreed that the French bombardment should 
begin at the moment when the Australian and Canadian waves 
plunged across No Alan’s Land. Three-quarters of an hour later the 
French infantry would follow. 

On July 21st Sir Arthur Currie was informed of the coming opera- 
tion and notified that, for the occasion, the Canadian Corps would be 
attached to the Fourth British Army. On July 29th the Canadian 
Divisional Commanders were told of the plan, but warned that the 
information was confidential and not to be discussed even with the 
most trusted subordinate. To deceive the enemy, they were instructed 
to continue preparations for an attack on Orange Hill, east of Arras. 
Meanwhile, rumours spread that the Corps was soon to engage in a 
great battle in Flanders, an appearance of confirmation attaching to 
these reports when the 27th Battalion, of the 2nd Canadian Division, 
the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, of the 3rd Canadian Division, two 
Canadian casualty clearing stations, and a buzzer section of the Cana- 
dian Signal Corps moved north, the battalions taking over trenches 
on the Kemmel front, where the quick-witted German Intelligence 
Department promptly identified them; the casualty clearing stations 
preparing for action at a spot where identification was not unlikely; 
and the buzzer sections sending messages in a code which trained 
German listeners could decipher. 

Certain foreign observers attached to the Corps viewed the trans- 
fer of two battalions, two casualty clearing stations, and a buzzer 
section to the north as proof that before long the Corps would follow. 
Folding their tents, these gentlemen slipped north to secure good billets 
for themselves while such were still available. Procuring the billets, 
they settled down and awaited the Corps’ arrival. Days passed; and 
then came news that the Corps, in a great surprise attack, had crashed 
through the German lines at Amiens. Reports of the foreign attaches 
on the Battle of Amiens are doubtless preserved in the archives of 
the nations concerned. The detailed account of the observers’ per- 
sonal experiences, and the deductions drawn therefrom, might well 
make interesting reading. 



218 



TIIE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



II 

At 9 p.m. on August 3rd, 1918, the 14th Battalion, less No. 4 Coy., 
embusscd at the cross-roads in Fosseux and proceeded to F revent, 
where the men entrained. This operation was completed at about 1 
o’clock on the morning of August 4th, the men making themselves as 
comfortable as possible in the famous “ 40 homines 8 chevaux ” box 
cars, and speculating with deep interest on where the trail they were 
following might lead. No one knew; but all realized that action was 
imminent. Lieut.-Col. Worrall carried sealed orders, which he was 
instructed not to open until the train had started. 

Proceeding at 1.30 a.m., the box cars jolted along through the hours 
of darkness, continued their trundling progress as sunrise flushed the 
east, forged ahead throughout the morning of August 4th, and at 1 p.m. 
halted at Vieux-Rouen-sur-Bresle. Detraining, the men were given a 
hot meal, following which they marched 10 kilometres to Avesne, 
reaching this spot at 5.30 p.m. and billeting for the night. During the 
morning and afternoon of August 5th battle equipment was checked 
and deficiencies made good. At 7 p.m., in obedience to instructions 
issued at 4 p.m. by Capt. D. MacRitchie, Adjutant, the Battalion, in 
full marching order, formed up in Avesne and marched to a point on 
the Hornoy-Aumont Road, where, under supervision of Lieut. S. J. 
McEwen, M.C., the men embusscd. 

When all busses had their complement, the convoy got under way 
and travelled throughout the night, reaching a spot near Amiens at 
5 o’clock on the following morning. Debussing, the men marched 12 
kilometres to the town of Boves, which had been evacuated by its 
population, but was thronged with troops, massing for the Amiens 
offensive. After billeting in Boves all day, the Battalion formed up 
opposite the Town Church late that night and marched to a position 
just north of Gentelles. Shelling was encountered on the march and 
for a time it appeared that progress would be made only at the cost 
of heavy losses. A number of men were killed or wounded by a salvo 
of 5.9’s, but eventually the zone of fire was passed and the Battalion 
distributed in reserve trenches. 

All day on August 7th the Royal Montreal Regiment lay in the 
reserve trenches, the men keeping as quiet as possible and doing 
everything in their power to escape observation. On surprise hinged 
success of the Amiens battle. Accordingly, the field and heavy guns, 
though in position, dared not fire even registering shots; aeroplanes 
strove to keep observers back without betraying that there was any- 



1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



219 



thing special to conceal; and the infantry ate rations cold, lest the 
smoke of many fires should rouse the enemy to a sense of approach- 
ing danger. 

At dusk on August 7t’n, the 14th Battalion took over positions for 
the attack from the 50th Australian Battalion, other units of the 3rd 
Brigade advancing simultaneously and preparing for action. When 
assembly was complete the formation of the Brigade was as follows: — 

On the Right — 16th Canadian Battalion. 

In the Centre — 13th Canadian Battalion. 

On the Left — 14th Canadian Battalion. 

In Centre Support — 15th Canadian Battalion. 

In Right Support — 5th Canadian Battalion. 

At 4.20 o’clock on the morning of August 8th, the attacking waves 
of the Canadian and Australian Divisions plunged forward to open the 
Battle of Amiens; and at the same instant the artillery of the French 
on the right roared in bombardment of the enemy line. From the 
moment when the Canadians left their trenches it was apparent that 
observation would prove difficult. A light ground mist prevailed, and 
soon this was thickened by the smoke of bursting shells, until sight 
was limited to a few dozen feet, or yards. 

Undeterred by inability to see, Nos. 2 and 3 Companies of the 14th 
Battalion led the Royal Montreal attack, with Nos. 1 and 4 Companies 
moving steadily forward in support. On reaching the German front 
line, opposition was encountered, but this was feeble and was brushed 
aside by use of the bayonet. Continuing, the advance swept to a 
point in front of Morgemont Wood, where it was checked by a nest 
of eight light machine guns, which had escaped aerial observation. 
For a time these held back the Canadians, who were handicapped by 
a shortage of bombs, but, just as the situation became serious, tanks 
arrived and, lurching forward, crushed the nest out of existence. 

Freed from intense fire, the Royal Montrealers pushed through 
Morgemont Wood and along its flanks, mopping up a number of 
enemy strong points, dislodging several carefully concealed snipers, 
and capturing numerous prisoners. On debouching from the wood, 
fire from a nest of heavy machine guns posted near Tittle Copse 
struck the leading waves of the attack and caused grievous losses. 
Summoning a party of his own men, as well as a group from the 3rd 
Canadian Battalion, Lieut. E. G. T. Penny, M.C., led a charge which 
drove into the German position, silenced the guns, and hammered the 
crews into submission. It would be gratifying to record that Lieut. 
Penny survived to enjoy the distinction which his leadership on this 



220 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



occasion would undoubtedly have brought him. Unfortunately, such 
was not the case. Together with a number of his men he fell ere the 
German opposition w’as finally overcome. 

Following the miniature battle near Tittle Copse, the attack of the 
Battalion moved against the northern portion of Czech and Croates 
Trenches. Opposition was stiff at this stage of the operation and tanks 
were called on for assistance. Advancing against the German position, 
the tanks made one trip along the enemy trench, firing their machine 
guns and crushing the parapet in several places. Presuming that they 
had cleared a way for the infantry, the tanks made off, but the Ger- 
mans had suffered less than the tank officers imagined and were able 
to offer strong resistance, the Royal Montrealers being compelled to 
substitute for frontal attacks a series of operations against the flanks. 

Success eventually attended the outflanking moves, enfilade fire 
was opened on the German position, and soon a white flag indicated 
surrender. Forgetful of the known tactics of the Hun, a number of 
men advanced across the open to occupy the trench and accept the 
garrison’s submission. These individuals paid the penalty of their 
trust and were killed by treacherous rifle fire. Angered by their death, 
the men of the Royal Montreal Regiment resumed the attack, grimly 
ignored two white flags which suddenly appeared, and shot without 
hesitation a number of the enemy who stepped onto the parapet with 
hands in the air. Whether this “ surrender ” was a further ruse, or 
whether the Germans, having exhausted the possibilities of treachery, 
expected to be treated as honourable prisoners of war, no one knows, 
as in the fighting which followed the garrison of the position was killed 
to a man. 

When Czech and Croates Trenches had been captured, the attack 
advanced almost without opposition to its final objective, the Green 
Line, evidence of enemy demoralization being afforded by the sight, 
far ahead, of German soldiers, partly clad, evacuating dugouts and 
hastening to the rear. Rifle fire was opened on these fugitives, and 
numbers fell under the fire of Canadian field guns, which, even at this 
early stage of the battle, were moving forward and seeking targets 
in the open. 

Thirty minutes after the action began, Lieut. -Col. Worrall decided 
to follow the attack as visual signalling was impossible, and telephone 
wires had been ripped up by tanks. This decision was hastened by 
the fact that, through runners losing their way in the fog, important 
messages were being delayed many minutes. Accordingly, the C.O. 
of the 14th moved up and established his Headquarters at a point not 



1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



221 



far from the Green Line, beyond which troops of the 2nd Brigade 
were exploiting the initial success. 

When consolidation of the Green Line was completed, officers and 
men paused to consider the operation and count the spoils of victory. 
A large number of prisoners had been captured, but these had been 
bundled hastily to the rear and an exact count of them was difficult 
to obtain. Simpler was a reckoning of trophies, which included 9 field 
guns, 3 trench mortars, and 14 machine guns, all of which were marked 
with the Battalion stencil, their numbers taken, and a list of them 
forwarded to Brigade Headquarters. These trophies were captured 
by men of the 14th without assistance. In the capture of other field 
and machine guns, officers and other ranks of the Royal Montreal 
Regiment participated. 

In offset to the number of Germans killed and to the list of prison- 
ers and trophies, the Regiment suffered casualties totalling 159, this 
number being made up of 5 officers killed, 4 officers wounded, 13 
other ranks killed, 103 other ranks wounded, and 34 other ranks 
missing. Later, a number of the missing were found to have 
passed through dressing stations other than the Battalion’s own. 
In addition to Lieut. E. G. T. Penny, M.C., whose death has been 
mentioned, the Regiment lost four platoon commanders, Lieuts. A. S. 
Baird, F. K. Neilson, M.M., J. H. Davy, and W. A. Kirkconnell, all 
of whom had fallen while leading their troops against machine guns, or 
against those trenches where the Germans had offered stubborn resist- 
ance. Of the dead officers two, Lieuts. Neilson and Kirkconnell, had 
crossed from Canada with the Battalion in the autumn of 1914, the 
former in the ranks, and the latter on the commissioned establish- 
ment. Lieut. Neilson had served in France in the early days of the 
war and had been granted a commission after recovering from wounds 
received in December, 1915. Lieut. Kirkconnell, finding himself sur- 
plus to establishment when the Battalion crossed from Salisbury to 
France, served with the 23rd Reserve Battalion until the autumn of 
1916, when he joined the 14th Battalion on the Virny front. Return- 
ing to England, he again served with reserve units until April, 1918. 
From that time until his death he had commanded a Royal Mont- 
real platoon. 

On the list of wounded on August 8th were Lieuts. E. A. Adams, 
B. A. Neville, M.C., B. T. Jackson, and S. B. White, the last-named 
a captain of the 199th Battalion, who had reverted to see service in 
France. Lieut. B. T. Jackson had served in the ranks of the 14th 
Battalion and had been commissioned after recovering from wounds 



222 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 

received in September, 1916, and July, 1917. Lieut. Neville, though 
wounded in the eye, was able to remain at duty. 

When troops of the 2nd Brigade leap-frogged tjie 14th Battalion 
in the Green Line, the Royal Montrealers effected immediate reorgan- 
ization in preparation for further action. The night of August 8th 
passed without incident, but at 6.50 o’clock on the morning of the 9th 
the Battalion received orders to advance in support of an attack 
being delivered by the 2nd Brigade, whose Headquarters had been 
established at a point near Cayeux. The 14th was the only 3rd Bri- 
gade battalion to become engaged on this date. 

At 7 a.m. final instructions were received, and fifteen minutes later 
the Battalion moved off. Forcing the pace, in view of the urgent 
nature of his mission, Lieut. -Col. Worrall led the Battalion along roads 
congested with traffic to 2nd Brigade Headquarters, where he was 
ordered to take up positions in support of the 8th Canadian Battalion, 
which was preparing to attack. Ordering the 14th Battalion to follow, 
Licut.-Col. Worrall advanced, reconnoitred the positions assigned to 
him, and, meeting the Battalion coming forward, directed the men to 
their places. A section of the assembly trenches originally chosen was 
commanded by higher ground, whence the enemy directed machine 
gun and artillery fire, the field guns including in their bombardment 
a high percentage of gas shells. Accordingly, Worrall changed the 
plan to meet the conditions and assembled his men in a less hazardous 
spot, the disposition being completed a few minutes before 11.30 a.m. 

Shortly after the Royal Montrealers had taken up position it was 
announced that the 8th Battalion would attack at 1 p.m., and that 
the 14th would follow in close support. Warning of the attack seems 
to have reached the Germans, for between 11.30 o’clock and zero the 
assembly positions were heavily shelled, a number of men falling as 
a result of the fire and serious losses being avoided by the narrowest 
of margins. 

Sharp at 1 o’clock the 8th Battalion attacked, and simultaneously 
the 14th swung into position to support, the move involving a flank 
advance through a small wood, which was being subjected to sus- 
tained fire. The value of manoeuvres carried out during the period 
in Army Special Reserve was demonstrated at this time, the company, 
platoon, and section commanders displaying marked ability in leading 
their men through the wood to the desired point on the flank. 

On debouching from the wood, the men of the Battalion suffered 
sharply from machine guns hidden in another small wood some dis- 
tance forward. Grim evidence that the 8th Battalion had encountered 



1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



223 



similar fire was supplied by a number of dead, and a stranded tank 
gave warning that the infantry assault might lack mechanical assist- 
ance. Fortunately, the ground mist of the previous day was absent, 
and commanders could see what was taking place. In this instance 
skilful leadership solved the problem, the garrison of the opposing 
wood being held in play on the front of attack, while strong forces 
manoeuvred for position on the flanks. Eventually the troops on the 
left gained a position, whence they launched an attack, supported by 
a tank which came back from a position far forward and attacked 
the wood on the right. Dismayed by this vicious onslaught, many 
Germans were killed and wounded, and over 50 taken prisoner. 

At this stage of the action Major Saunders, of the 8th Battalion, 
requested support for his left flank, which had suffered severely. Real- 
izing that the flank in question was important, as it connected with 
the right flank of another brigade, Lieut.-Col. Worrall sent forward 
No. 3 Coy. of the 14th with orders to support the 8th Battalion in 
every way possible. Shortly after this the Royal Montreal Regiment 
reached its assigned objective, and immediately started to consolidate. 
While consolidation was in progress Lieut.-Col. Worrall and Capt. 
MacRitchie advanced to appreciate the situation in the forward area. 

After some time Worrall and MacRitchie reached a spot where 
some 60 to 80 officerless men of the 8th Battalion were used to prepare 
for a counter-attack, which could be seen massing in the direction of 
Fouquescourt. Simultaneously, a squadron of British cavalry trotted 
along the Meharicourt-Fouquescourt Road, obviously into a trap. 
Powerless to warn the horsemen, the Canadians watched them move 
to their fate. When they reached Fouquescourt Crucifix the enemy 
opened fire. Too late the squadron leader recognized his peril. Some 
of his men escaped; the majority sank to earth dead, dying, or severely 
wounded. 

Finding that the point reached by the foremost men of the 8th 
Battalion was unsuitable for defence, Lieut.-Col. Worrall decided to 
consolidate a short distance to the rear. Spreading the personnel of 
his Headquarters along the line selected, he sent runners back and 
ordered the main body of the 14th Battalion to advance without delay. 
Meanwhile, after consultation with Major Saunders, he, as senior 
officer, took over tactical control of both battalions, and, as the troops 
on his left flank were not up, of some cavalry, which he used to fill 
the dangerous gap. While this was being accomplished Major Saun- 
ders returned to 2nd Brigade Headquarters to report on the situation 
and arrange for supplies of ammunition. 



224 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



Meanwhile, to assist in maintaining touch with his flanking com- 
panies, Lieut.-Col. Worrall had commandeered two horses belonging 
to a major of whippet tanks. Mounted on one of these animals, Capt. 
J. H. Richardson set out towards the position on the left. To escape 
the fire of a small-calibre gun, the 14th officer spurred his horse and, 
without encountering the troops he sought, rode into the German lines. 
Realizing that he had overshot his mark, Richardson dismounted to 
reconnoitre a way back, but a bullet struck his foot, and the horse got- 
away. Crawling on hands and knees, Richardson reached the Cana- 
dian lines and eventually reported to Battalion H.Q., where the owner 
of the lost horse was expressing vigorous resentment. Recognizing 
that the tank officer had a legitimate grievance, Lieut.-Col. Worrall 
expressed regret for what had happened, but explained that to obtain 
knowledge of the situation on the left was vital to the safety of his 
Battalion, and justified measures which in other circumstances might 
be thought high-handed. 

By this time the enemy realized that his counter-attack was not 
to progress unopposed. Halting, therefore, he pushed forward machine 
gun posts, which inflicted losses on the men digging in. Whippet tanks 
advanced in an effort to subdue the machine gun fire, but the gunners 
were hard to find in the fields of nearly ripe grain. Two whippets 
were disabled before one machine gun nest had been destroyed, but 
other nests were silenced by the presence of the tanks, and consolida- 
tion was thereby assisted. 

When consolidation had made some progress, Major Saunders, of 
the 8th Battalion, arrived back at the front from 2nd Brigade Head- 
quarters, bearing written orders in obedience to which the 14th Bat- 
talion relinquished the front line and withdrew to a support position 
about 300 yards to the rear. During .the night which followed the 
enemy attempted no further advance; instead he recalled his forward 
posts and retired, the 8th Battalion quickly recognizing his intention 
and pushing out patrols which established posts along the line of the 
Battalion’s final objective. 

In the fighting on August 9th officers and men of the 14th earned 
the commendation of their Commanding Officer for exemplary behav- 
iour. Approximately 200 other ranks were casualties, of whom more 
than 30 were killed. Two officers were killed, and 10 wounded. Capt. 
T. G. Beagley, who had been promoted following service in the ranks, 
and had been wounded in July, 1916, was killed instantly, and Major 
D. W. Clarkson, M.C., who had served the Regiment for nearly two 
years, suffered wounds from which, he died a few hours later. Capt. 



1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



225 



J. H. Richardson was wounded as previously mentioned; Lieut. B. A. 
Neville, M.C., was wounded for the second time in 48 hours; and 
Lieuts. S. J. De la Haye, H. H. Robinson, M. E. Beckett, J. D. Patter- 
son, G. Beattie, S. J. McEwen, R. M. levers, and J. Leno suffered 
wounds which necessitated their removal to hospital. Previous to 
joining the 14th, Lieut. McEwen had served in the ranks of the 60th 
Battalion, Victoria Rifles of Canada, and the 87th Battalion, Cana- 
dian Grenadier Guards; Lieut. levers had seen service with the 22nd 
French-Canadian Battalion; and Lieut. Leno had been commissioned 
from the ranks of the 3rd Toronto Battalion. The other wounded 
officers had served for varying periods with the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment, and had at all times proved worthy. The loss of so many at 
one time was, therefore, a severe blow to the unit’s establishment. 

In addition to casualties, a battle necessarily involves vast expendi- 
ture of ammunition and supplies, and tremendous waste of material. 
Some idea of how material is flung hither and yon, usually by circum- 
stances beyond the owner’s, or carrier’s, control, can be gained from 
a report forwarded to “ Gogi ” — the code word used at the time to 
indicate 14th Battalion Headquarters — by Capt. H. G. Brewer, O.C. 
No. 2 Coy. This report lists material salvaged by No. 2 Coy. on a 
day after the battle, and includes the following items: — German 
Material: — 1 heavy machine gun, 7 medium machine guns, 7 machine 
gun barrels (spares), 48 loaded machine gun belts in carriers, 6 250- 
round machine gun belts, 1 medium trench mortar (complete with 
wheels and spare parts), 2 respirators, 5 mess tins, 5 steel helmets, 
10 entrenching tools, 6 water bottles, 15 rifles, 6 bayonets, 20 packs, 
10 scabbards, 2 machine gun water tanks, 8 shovels, and 4 picks. 
British material salvaged at the same time included: — 20 Lee Enfield 
rifles, 6 entrenching tools, 8 bayonets and scabbards, 6 steel helmets, 
2 sets of Webb equipment, 11 sets of Webb pouches, 6 3-inch Stokes 
gun shells, 30 Lewis gun magazines, 6 haversacks, 2 machine gun 
pouches, 8 water bottles, 3 shovels, 4 picks, 25 petrol tins, and 1 com- 
plete box of S.O.S. grenades. 

On August 10th, 1918, the Royal Montreal Regiment lay in a 
support position not far from Warvillers. From this position the men, 
for the first time, witnessed a charge by a British regiment of cavalry. 
Riding up in fours on the left, the horsemen formed into lines of 
squadrons and swept magnificently to the attack. Unfortunately, 
they encountered a shattering barrage of black-smoked 5.9’s, and then 
ran into barbed wire. In the wire the splendid unit was cut to pieces 
by machine gun fire. Though the mounted troops were not successful 



226 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



in this local action, their employment in the Battle of Amiens indi- 
cated that Sir Douglas Haig had not failed to appreciate what the 
absence of cavalry had cost Germany during the spring battles of the 
year. Few critics have covered this point, but many soldiers believe 
that when the enemy attacked the Third and Fifth Armies on March 
21st, a few strong cavalry corps might have transformed a British 
defeat into irreparable disaster. 

On the following day the Battalion, still weakened as a result of 
the fighting on the 8th and 9th, suffered a severe loss when Capt. J. 
C. K. Carson, M.C., and Lieut. R. J. Allan, M.C., M.M., were killed 
while reconnoitring an advanced position. Capt. Carson, before join- 
ing the Battalion in the autumn of 1915, had been a Staff Captain at 
Shorncliffc. He served with the Royal Montreal Regiment for 6 
months in 1915-1916, for 10 months in 1916-1917, and finally for 3 
months in 1918. Lieut. Allan, who was killed by the same shell, had 
served in the ranks of the Regiment, had been wounded on June 3rd, 
1916, had returned to the ranks on recovery, had won the Military 
Medal, had been commissioned, and had won the Military Cross. In 
the death of these officers, therefore, the Battalion lost capable and 
experienced leaders. 

Ill 

On August 13th Sir Arthur Currie issued a “ Special Order ”, deal- 
ing with the action of the Canadian Corps at Amiens. In it he says, 
“ The first stage of this Battle of Amiens is over, and one of the 
most successful operations conducted by the Allied Armies since the 
war began is now a matter of history. The Canadian Corps has every 
right to feel more than proud of the part it played On August 8th 
“ the Canadian Corps — to which was attached the 3rd Cavalry Divi- 
sion, the 4th Tank Brigade, the 5th Squadron, R.A.F. — attacked on a 
front of 7,500 yards. After a penetration of 22,000 yards the line 
to-night rests on a 10,000-yard frontage. Sixteen German Divisions 
have been identified, of which four have been completely routed. 
Nearly 150 guns have been captured, while over one thousand machine 
guns have fallen into our hands. Ten thousand prisoners have passed 
through our cages and casualty clearing stations, a number greatly 
in excess of our total casualties. . . . From the depths of a very full 
heart 1 wish to thank all Staffs and Services for their splendid support 
and co-operation and to congratulate you all on the wonderful success 
achieved. Let us remember our gallant dead whose spirit shall ever 
be with us, inspiring us to nobler effort, and when the call again comes, 



1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



227 



be it soon or otherwise, I know the same measure of success will be 
yours 

Previous to the appearance of Sir Arthur Currie’s “ Special Order ”, 
Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig had conferred regarding continuation 
of the operation with Marshal Foch. The French commander desired 
the British to drive forward in the area where success had already 
been achieved, but Sir Douglas was unwilling to waste the strength of 
his forces in ploughing across the shell-torn battlefields of the Somme, 
with no important strategic objectives in sight. Accordingly, he coun- 
tered Marshal Foch’s suggestion with a plan for smashing through the 
German line at a point where British success would involve Teutonic 
disaster. If co-operation on a vast scale by the French and American 
Armies could be arranged, the downfall of Germany, Sir Douglas 
pointed out, might be effected in the current calendar year. Reliable 
witnesses state that Marshal Foch hesitated, but at last agreed. The 
chance of concluding the war without another winter in the trenches, 
though admittedly slight, existed, and could not be allowed to slip by. 
Accordingly, the French leader endorsed the plan, and set about 
co-ordinating the Allied effort. The measure of his success is known 
to those who followed the forward sweep of the French, American, and 
British Armies in the “ Hundred Days ” before the Armistice brought 
hostilities to a close. 

Unaware of what the future held in store, the 14th Battalion 
moved back on August 12th to the Beaufort Area, where the men 
occupied trenches about 300 yards in advance of the Beaufort Village 
Road. On August 15th Capt. D. MacRitchie, Adjutant, issued Opera- 
tion Order No. 237, in obedience to which the Battalion moved for- 
ward at night to a position in the front line at Parvillers. Taking 
with them 193 new men, who had reported for duty from England, 
the companies relieved a battalion of the 7th Canadian Infantry 
Brigade without suffering casualties. 

At noon on August 16th Brigade notified Battalion Headquarters 
that a German Alpine Division had moved into the line opposite and 
that minor operations might be expected. Later, in view of French 
successes near Goyencourt, all troops of the 1st Canadian Division 
were ordered to hold themselves in readiness for a sudden move. At 
4 o’clock Brigade reported that French troops were driving the enemy 
from Goyencourt. 

At 6 o’clock on the morning of August 17th Lieut.-Col. G. E. 
McCuaig, C.M.G., D.S.O., Commanding Officer of the 13th Battalion, 
notified 14th Headquarters that his troops had “ pinched out ” the 



228 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



village of La Chavatte, and were holding a position 200 yards beyond. 
On receipt of this information, No. 3 Coy. of the Royal Montreal 
Regiment, under Capt. J. Patterson, was ordered to advance at once 
to support the 13th against possible counter-attack. No. 2 Coy. was 
ordered to follow No. 3 after an interval of a few minutes. Both com- 
panies carried out the move without encountering opposition, and 
consequently without losses. Later in the day Brig. -Gen. G. S. Tux- 
ford, C.B., C.M.G., met the Brigade Battalion Commanders at Royal 
Montreal Headquarters and discussed problems which the successful 
La Chavatte operation had created. 

Early on the morning of August 18th shelling killed 2 men of the 
14th Battalion and wounded 8, these casualties being more than 
replaced later in the day when a draft of 51 other ranks reported from 
a reinforcing camp. Gas shelling caused inconvenience on the night 
of the 18th, but helmets were donned and casualties avoided. At 7.10 
p.m. on August 19th an S.O.S. signal rose from the Canadian front 
and within four seconds there came the reassuring crash of a protec- 
tive barrage. If the enemy planned a raid, as was suspected, the 
weight of the barrage proved disheartening, for no Germans advanced, 
and at 9.50 p.m. all front line units reported that the situation was 
“ normal ”. 

Previous to the incident of the S.O.S. signal and the 4-second reply 
barrage, a party of French officers reconnoitred the 14th Battalion 
area, and at noon on the following day Brigade informed Royal Mont- 
real Headquarters that control of the district had been turned over 
to a French Divisional Commander, and that French artillery would 
assume responsibility for support as from 10 o’clock on the morning 
of the 21st. These items indicated that the Corps’ part in the Battle 
of Amiens had ended. Success had been granted, and successful troops 
were ever in demand. Something new was being planned, and the 
Corps was needed. That much was obvious; details rested in the 
trusted hands of the British Commander-in-Chief. 

Even as the Canadian divisions withdrew from Amiens, troops of 
the Fourth and Third British Armies opened the Battle of Bapaume. 
After preliminary operations on August 21st, battle was joined on 
August 23rd on a 30-mile front from Lihons, south of the Somme, to 
the Mercatel Spur, south of Arras. Admirably led and courageously 
delivered, the attack struck down behind the old battlefield of the 
Somme from the north, forcing evacuation of this desolate area and 
permitting troops who had taken over the Amiens front to advance 
without costly frontal attacks. By this swift manoeuvre Sir Douglas 



1918 



GERMANY’S BLACK DAY 



229 



Haig amply justified his refusal to press forward at Amiens, as General 
Foch had requested. More, he had prepared the way for further 
co-ordinated attacks based on sound, strategic principles. Amiens was 
a brilliant tactical coup; the fighting thereafter represented a com- 
bination of equally brilliant tactics and strategy. 



CHAPTER XX 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



For many a youthful shoulder now is gay with an epaulet, 

And the hand that was deft with a cricket bat is defter with a sword, 
And some of the lads will laugh today where the trench is red and 
wet, 

And some will win on the bloody field the accolade of the Lord. 

— Joyce Kilmer. 



I 

W HEN French divisions took over the front at Amiens, the 
Canadian Corps shifted secretly to Arras, there to act as the 
spear-head of an attack on the Hindenburg system of defence. 
There can be little doubt that the German troops in front of Arras 
were unpleasantly surprised when they found the Corps in action 
against them, in fact, one enemy officer is said to have shot five of 
his men to make the others fight at all. Complimentary to the Corps 
as such a tale is, it creates a false impression regarding the difficulties 
which the divisions were called on to surmount. Their’s was no simple 
task. In places the enemy displayed poor morale, but elsewhere he 
fought courageously, aided by defences stronger than the Canadians, 
with all their varied experience, had up to this time encountered. 

Something of the task which the Corps faced can be gathered from 
Sir Arthur Currie’s report on the engagement, which refers to the plan 
of attack as follows: — • 

“ The Canadian Corps on the right of the First Army, 
was to attack eastwards astride the Arras-Cambrai 
Road, and by forcing its way through the Drocourt- 
Queant Line south of the Scarpe to break the hinge of 
the Hindenburg system and prevent the possibility of 
the enemy rallying behind this powerfully-organized 
defended area. . . . 

“ The four main systems of defence consisted of the 
following lines: — 

(1) The old German front line system east of 
Monchy-le-Preux. 

(2) The Fresnes-Rouvroy Line. 

(3) The Drocourt-Queant Line. 

(4) The Canal du Nord Line. 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



231 



“ These, with their subsidiary switches and strong points, 
as well as the less-organized but by no means weak 
intermediate lines of trenches, made the series of posi- 
tions to be attacked without doubt one of the strongest 
defensively on the Western Front 

Months might well have gone into preparation for an attack such 
as that contemplated, but months were not available. Weeks even 
were denied the Corps Commander, who was ordered to attack four 
days after the general plan was revealed to him. Undaunted by such 
handicap, the Staff of the Corps set to work under Sir Arthur’s direc- 
tion, with the result that, at 3 a.m. on August 26th, the 2nd and 3rd 
Canadian Divisions plunged across No Man’s Land in the opening 
engagement of the great battle. A difficult task faced these devoted 
troops, but by night, as a result of bitter fighting, Monchy-le-Preux, 
Guemappe, Wancourt Tower, and the crest of Heninel Ridge had been 
torn from German grasp. Renewing the assault at 4.55 o’clock on the 
morning of August 27th, the 2nd and 3rd Divisions overcame savage 
resistance, the one capturing Cherisy and crossing the Sensee River, 
while the other captured the Bois du Vert and the Bois du Sart, and 
drove its attack to the outskirts of Haueourt, Remy, Boiry Notre- 
Dame, and Pelves. It had been planned to withdraw the 2nd and 3rd 
Divisions on the night of August 27th, and to renew the attack on 
the 28th with the 1st Canadian and the 4th British Divisions, but this 
w r as found impossible and the wearied divisions in the line were ordered 
on. Responding magnificently, the 3rd Division smashed forward, 
capturing Boiry and Pelves, before being relieved at midnight by the 
4th British Division. Attacking no less bravely, the 2nd Division 
encountered resistance so strong that little progress was possible. 
Some gains were made, but at night, when the 1st Division relieved, 
the line lay not far in advance of the position occupied in the morn- 
ing. The men who fought on this section of the front smile grimly at 
reports of lowered German morale. With justice, they consider that 
on August 27th and 28th, 1918, the enemy was fighting as strongly 
as he had fought at any time during the war. 

The battle fought during the last days of August and the first days 
of September produced immediate effect on the whole British front, 
the Germans abandoning their determined defence and withdrawing 
in some disorder to the Drocourt-Queant and Canal du Nord Lines. 
Influenced both by the British attack and by French pressure on the 
Aisne, the enemy also began to withdraw from the line of the River 



232 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



Vesle. On September 3rd the French armies to the British right 
reported that signs of this withdrawal were unmistakable. 

II 

Following relief by the 112th French Infantry Regiment on the 
night of August 21st, 1918, the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment, moved back to the Warvillers-Beaufort area by a route which 
Lieut. G. B. McKean, V.C., M.M., and the Intelligence Section had 
previously reconnoitred. Here one day was spent, the unit parading 
that same night in obedience to orders issued by Lieut. A. H. Murphy, 
Acting Adjutant, and marching to Hangard Wood, a distance of 
approximately 15 kilometres. A few members of a recently-joined 
draft were inclined to make much of the hardship entailed by two 
weeks of fighting and a night march on sore feet so soon thereafter, 
but Licut.-Col. Worrall pointed out that in the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment hard work could be expected and complaints were out of order. 
The veterans vigorously endorsed these remarks and the new men, 
determined to prove themselves in no way unworthy of a place on 
the Battalion roll, accepted the rebuke without further comment. 

Reaching Hangard Wood at 3.45 o’clock on the morning of August 
23rd, the Battalion bivouacked until 9 p.m. on the 24th, when it 
marched to Boves, arriving at midnight and taking over billets in the 
houses of the town. In obedience to Operation Order No. 240, issued 
on August 25th by Capt. D. MacRitchie, Adjutant, the Battalion 
paraded in Boves at midnight and marched 9 miles over hilly roads 
to Saleux, halting once at a spot where the Y.M.C.A. supplied hot tea. 
At Saleux the Battalion breakfasted, after which the men boarded 
box cars and were carried to Aubigny. Detraining seven hours after 
leaving Saleux, the troops rested for a time, then embussed and pro- 
ceeded to Dainville, whence they marched to billets in Arras. 

Large calibre shelling of Arras caused uneasiness on August 27th, 
but no casualties resulted. At 5.30 p.m. orders were received for a 
move at 7 p.m. to near Tilloy Wood. Reaching this spot at 9 o’clock, 
after a wearisome march during which traffic frequently forced the 
men off the road into the ditches at the sides, the companies were 
distributed for the night in shelters and old trenches. At noon on 
August 28th the Regiment was informed that the 3rd Brigade would 
relieve the 5th Brigade, of the 2nd Canadian Division, that same night. 

At 2 p.m. a party of the 14th Battalion advanced to establish 
touch with units of the 5th Brigade, but the mission failed, and it was 




Millers 

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Amiens - August 1918 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



233 



decided to rely for the carrying-out of relief on information to be 
obtained at 5th Brigade Headquarters. Marching at 9 p.m., the 
Battalion reported at 5th Brigade H.Q. and picked up guides for the 
move into the line. Traffic on the roads and difficulties incident to 
relief of units in contact with the enemy prevented a quick take-over, 
the last weary troops of the gallant 2nd Division not being released 
until dawn. 

At 10.30 a. m. on August 29th the enemy shelled the 14th Battalion 
with gas, causing inconvenience and one or two casualties, which were 
more than offset by 143 other ranks who reported for duty from 
reserve. Including the members of this draft, the ration strength of 
the Battalion as August drew to a close totalled 31 officers and 921 
other ranks. Before the end of the month, or at 4.45 a.m. on August 
30th, to be exact, the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade advanced through 
the lines of the 3rd Brigade and drove a sharp attack into the enemy 
lines. Bravely pushed, this assault met with success, despite heavy 
shell fire and a strong counter-attack launched by the enemy at 12.30 
p.m. Following the counter-attack, observers reported that the Ger- 
mans were retreating, this information confirming the success of the 
1st Brigade and indicating to officers of the 3rd Brigade that action 
was imminent. The enemy could not be allowed to retreat unmolested 
and troops of the 3rd Brigade were in position to attack. 

As expected, orders for an attack on September 1st were received 
by 14th Battalion Headquarters on August 31st. Zero was placed at 
4.50 a.m. and the Battalion ordered to attack on a front of one com- 
pany only, connecting on the right with the 15th Battalion and on the 
left with troops of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. Objectives 
were strictly limited and were chosen with a view to uncovering 
defences of the Drocourt-Queant Line, against which operations on a 
major scale were pending. 

In preparation for the attack Capt. D. MacRitchie, Battalion Adju- 
tant, issued Operation Order No. 242, which may be summarized as 
follows: — 



(1) General Plan: — The Battalion will attack on a one- 
company frontage, from a position to be taken up 
to-night. (August 31st.) 

(2) Formation: — No. 4 Coy. will lead the attack, fol- 
lowed by Nos. 2, 1, and 3 Companies in the order 
named. 



234 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



(3) Objectives: — Consolidation will take place at a 
point below the crest of the hill up which we attack, 
and in touch with the 15th Battalion on the right. 

(4) Contact: — Every effort must be made to keep in 
touch with the 2nd Brigade on the left. No. 4 Coy’s, 
advance will be regulated by the advance of the 
15th Battalion on the right. 

(5) Barrage: — The attack will advance behind a rolling 
barrage of approximately 100 yards every 4 minutes. 
Confirmation of this speed will follow. 

(6) Signal: — No. 4 Coy., on reaching front objective, 
will fire a white Very light into the air. 

(7) Consolidation: — Will be in depth. Positions will be 
determined by commanders on the spot. 

(8) Opposition: — Little opposition is expected on our 
immediate front, but supporting companies must be 
prepared to form a defensive flank should the situa- 
tion demand it. 

(9) Possibility of Counter-Attack: — This must be con- 
sidered as likely. Speed in consolidation is there- 
fore essential. 

In accordance with orders, the Royal Montreal Regiment moved 
forward on the night of August 31st, and relieved elements of the 1st 
Infantry Brigade on ground which the latter had captured during the 
day. Darkness complicated the move, which was difficult in any case 
owing to the confusion attendant on relief of troops whose map loca- 
tions had not been established. Company officers of the 14th displayed 
fine leadership, however, and the Battalion was ready half an hour 
before zero, despite shelling, which wounded Lieut. IL L. Emmans and 
a number of other ranks. A few seconds before zero the enemy laid 
down a barrage which, had it been accurately placed, would have 
caused serious losses, but, possibly through defeated troops failing to 
report the amount of territory yielded, the German gunners fired on 
a line well to the 14th rear. 

Hardly had the misplaced German barrage shattered the quiet of 
the early morning, when Canadian guns roared in answer and the 
waves of the attacking battalions flooded over No Man’s Land. With 
the first wave of the Royal Montreal Regiment moved a batten,- of 
machine guns, under command of Captain Morris, which throughout 
t lie day aided the 14th and earned recognition in Lieut.-Col. Worrall’s 
report to Brigade Headquarters. It had been intended that Stokes 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



235 



guns should also take part in the attack, but the gunners were unable 
to report until some hours after zero. \\ hen they arrived, the Com- 
manding Officer of the 14th ordered them into action at Hans Trench, 
where they rendered valuable service. 

Pushing forward immediately behind a rolling barrage, the waves 
of the 14th Battalion soon came in contact with the enemy, numbers 
of whom were routed out of shell holes and bundled to the rear. No. 
4 Coy., under Capt. J. Patterson, which led the attack, included in its 
ranks many new men anxious to establish their fighting reputation, 
but at first little opportunity was afforded them, the enemy showing 
demoralization and surrendering eagerly. So complete was loss of 
morale in the German forward area that troops, who might easily 
have escaped, hurried joyfully to the Canadian rear. 

As the 14th approached Hans Trench, resistance stiffened and the 
Germans, aided by 13 machine guns, prepared to stand fast. The new 
men of No. 4 Coy. now realized that their opportunity had come. 
Refusing to check, they leaped into the trench with the bayonet, 
killed more than 50 Germans, and quickly forced a surrender. The 
13 machine guns defending the position they captured intact. 

Shortly after the capture of Hans Trench, liaison was established 
with the 15th Battalion on the right and with the 5th Battalion on 
the left. Up to this time casualties in the 14th Battalion had been 
light, but once the enemy realized that the attack had reached its 
objective he began to exact payment for the territory so precipitously 
abandoned. As soon as the protective barrage died away, he launched 
a bombing attack down Hans Trench, covering the advance of his 
bombers with heavy machine gun fire. Defence of the captured section 
of Hans Trench, however, was in the experienced hands of Capt. H. 
G. Brewer, who quickly appreciated the situation and, at a block 
previously established, held the Germans at bay, strengthening his 
defence meanwhile by bringing into action a captured machine gun. 
Ill content with the result at this spot, the enemy bombed down Opal 
Trench, where the 5th Battalion was established. Fighting bravely 
against odds, the men of the 5th were pushed back until the flank of 
the 14th was uncovered. Simultaneously, a machine gun nest in Trig- 
ger Copse opened fire and harassed the Royal Montrealers severely. 

When notified of the fire from Trigger Copse, a Canadian field 
battery came into action and silenced the nest without delay. More 
difficult to deal with was fire from the left flank, which hampered 
runners and caused sharp losses amongst the Battalion stretcher- 
bearers, who, as always, permitted nothing to stand between them and 



230 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



rescue of the wounded. Locating a machine gun nest at a spot where 
a road crossed Opal Trench, Lieut. F. J. Hurley, D.C.M., advanced 
to bomb. Twice he tried to get within range, but was driven back. 
Undeterred, Hurley advanced again, but fell shot through the head. 
Twice previously in the war he had been wounded; this time the bullet 
struck a vital spot, and death followed immediately. 

Shortly after the death of Lieut. Hurley, the enemy drove a deter- 
mined attack down Hans Trench, but again Capt. Brewer, Capt. G. 
V. Whitehead, and the garrison forced the Germans back with Boche 
“ potato masher ” grenades, collected from dead bodies in the area. 
Somewhat later the enemy surged down the trench behind a barrage 
of bombs, but once more he encountered resistance which he could not 
subdue. Exasperated by lack of success and, possibly, by realization 
that the Canadians were using his own pet “ potato masher ” grenades, 
the Hun gathered his forces and, for the third time, came roaring down 
on the block in Hans Trench. On this occasion he received an unplea- 
sant surprise, for Stokes guns had been added to the defence and these 
shattered his attack completely. 

Convinced that Hans Trench and the whole forward position had 
passed definitely out of his control, the enemy ceased bombing and 
increased machine gun fire and gas shelling, forcing the Royal Mont- 
realers to keep well under cover and to wear respirators almost con- 
tinuously. Miserable in the extreme were a large number of men of 
Nos. 1 and 3 Companies, under Capt. J. E. McKenna, who, though 
violently nauseated by the phosphorus in smoke shells, dared not 
remove their close-fitting helmets, owing to the deluge of enemy gas. 
These poor souls lay about in trenches and shell holes, too sick to care 
what was happening around them. Fortunately, the duration of 
violent nausea was brief. 

Through a curious error, the planes of the Royal Air Force which 
were to have established contact during consolidation, missed their 
objectives and circled over an area some 3,000 yards to the rear. 
Faintly, the rearmost troops of the 14th Battalion could hear the 
klaxon horns calling confidently, then coaxingly, then despairingly, for 
assurance that all was well with the attack, and for flares outlining 
(he area captured. Happily, communication to the rear by runner 
and telephone remained effective and the failure in aerial liaison pro- 
duced no harmful results. 

Meanwhile, in the captured position, officers and men of the 14th 
were enduring fire of all description. Capt. J. Patterson, an original 
member of the Battalion, who had been commissioned in 1917 and 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



237 



had suffered wounds in 1915, 1916, and 1917, was wounded for the 
second time in 24 hours, bringing to five his total of wounds in the 
service of the Regiment. Lieut. D. E. Stewart, who had worked 
loyally in the interest of the Battalion for sixteen months, was wound- 
ed and evacuated. Capt. J. E. McKenna, who had been wounded in 
June, 1916, was again wounded, but, as on the previous occasion, 
refused to leave his post. Capt. J. Pinault (attached) was wounded 
by a bullet which passed through both legs. The manner in which 
these officers bore their injuries so fired the imagination of the men 
that at least 40, suffering from flesh wounds, refused evacuation and 
declared themselves able and willing to take part in operations 
planned for the morrow. 



Ill 

While the companies of the 14th Battalion were fighting on Septem- 
ber 1st, Headquarters was at work in preparation for a major operation 
to be undertaken on September 2nd. In essence, instructions for the 
attack were as follows: — 

(1) Plan: — The general advance will continue on 
September 2nd, in conjunction with divisions on our 
right and left. The 13th Battalion, Royal High- 
landers of Canada, and the 16th Battalion, Cana- 
dian Scottish, will pass through us to the attack, the 
14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, there- 
upon becoming support to the 13th Battalion. 

(2) Action Following Zero: — The 13th Battalion will 
attack and carry the Drocourt-Queant Line. The 
14th Battalion will be responsible for mopping up 
the Drocourt-Queant and close support lines. 

(3) Action Following Capture of Drocourt-Queant 
Line: — A halt in the barrage will be made at a 
point east of the Drocourt-Queant Support Line. 
During this halt the 14th Battalion will be reorgan- 
ized. The 14th Battalion will then leap-frog the 
13th and capture Cagnicourt, pushing on until Queer 
Street Trench is reached. 

(4) Second Leap-Frog: — Following the capture of Queer 
Street, the 13th Battalion will come forward, leap- 
frog the 14th Battalion and proceed to capture of 
the final Brigade objective. 



238 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



(5) First Phase: — During the first part of the operation 
the 14th Battalion will be in close support to the 
13th Battalion and must be prepared to assist the 
latter if necessary. 

(6) Formation: — The 14th Battalion will attack on a 
two-company front, No. 1 Coy. on the left and No. 
3 Coy. on the right. No. 4 Coy. will follow No. 1 
Coy. and No. 2 will follow No. 3. No movement 
from our present position should take place until 
the 13th Battalion has captured the Drocourt- 
Queant Line. Then the 14th Battalion will move 
forward to mop up. 

(7) Type of Fighting: — After the Battalion has cap- 
tured Cagnicourt the fighting should merge into open 
warfare. The principles of such warfare will be 
observed, with scouts well out. 

(8) Contact:- — Every effort must be made throughout 
the operation to keep in touch with Battalion 
Headquarters by visual signalling. 

On receipt of the above instructions, delivered late at night, com- 
pany officers of the 14th reorganized under most difficult circumstances. 
Darkness and the scattered positions of platoons gave to the task an 
appearance of impossibility, but, as was so often the case, the seem- 
ingly impossible was accomplished, and all was ready before dawn. 
At 5 o’clock the artillery laid a rolling barrage along the Canadian 
front and in its wake the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigades, 
and troops of the 57th (West Lancs.) T. Division, on the right, 
assaulted the Drocourt-Queant Line. Hard fighting followed, but 
success was not denied the attack, the 13th Battalion reporting at 
7.10 a.m. that the Drocourt-Queant Line and its immediate supports 
had been captured. 

On receiving this information Lieut. -Col. Worrall ordered the 14th 
Battalion forward. The barrage had paused, according to arrange- 
ment, and guns which were to have fired on special targets had not 
opened up. The advance, therefore, began amid impressive silence. 
Men remarked on this and eyed the distant objectives uneasily. 
Silence, when one of the most formidable positions on the western 
front had just been stormed, seemed unwholesome, and the men'won- 
dred what evil the absence of noise might cloak. 

Impressed by the silence, but thankful for the absence of shell 
fire, the Battalion pressed forward, mopped up a few minor points 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



239 



where enemy parties had been overlooked by the first waves of the 
attack, joined the 13th Battalion in the support line of the Drocourt- 
Queant System, formed up to renew the assault, and impatiently 
awaited the signal to go over. By this time there was no lack of noise. 
Barrage fire had started again, machine guns were chattering viciously, 
bullets were snapping and cracking overhead, and from all sides came 
the confused roar which the men had learned to associate with the 
field of battle. 

At 8 a.m. the barrage rolled forward and behind it the men of the 
14th advanced to assault the village of Cagnicourt. Brushing aside 
such opposition as he encountered in the first few minutes of the 
advance, Lieut. A. L. McLean, M.C., D.C.M., led a party of No. 3 
Coy. against a stubborn machine gun post. Outflanking this, McLean 
was bringing a 14th Battalion machine gun into action, when two 
Germans rose with their hands in the air. Though experienced, Lieut. 
McLean suspected no treachery. He rose and walked forward, but 
fell dead when the German machine gun again opened fire. 

Enraged by the treachery resulting in the death of a fearless 
officer, who had crossed from Canada in the ranks and had served for 
over two years in France, the men of McLean’s platoon charged the 
machine gun nest and bayoneted the gun crews, sparing none. Simul- 
taneously, the men of the 14th sighted a body of Germans coming 
forward from Cagnicourt. Possibly these wished to surrender; cer- 
tainly the cohesion of an attack was lacking. Taking no chances 
after what had just happened, the Royal Montrealers opened fire, 
killed a number of the enemy, wounded many more, and drove the 
remainder in confusion back to Cagnicourt. 

Though suffering from a painful wound, Lieut. G. B. McKean, V.C., 
M.M., seized the opportunity presented by the retreat of the Germans 
to push his men around Cagnicourt, thereby nipping in the bud an 
attempt of the enemy to escape through the village to the rear. Driv- 
ing the escaping Germans back into the village, Lieut. McKean and 
his scouts followed and joined forces with the main body of the 
Battalion, which stormed in from the north-west. 

Immediately on entering Cagnicourt the troops of the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment were met by the Medical Officer of a huge dressing 
station, who, in excellent English, requested the men from Canada to 
spareGiis life. Somewhat surprised, the Royal Montrealers explained 
that it was not their custom to kill medical officers, or wounded, and 
that neither the doctor nor his patients need fear ill-treatment. Satis- 
fied, apparently, that he was dealing with troops who would observe 



240 



TIIK ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



the rules of civilized warfare, the doctor stopped a party which w 7 as 
about to bomb cellars and saps where enemy troops were concealed. 
“ Wait! ” he said, “ 1 will get them up True to his word, the doctor 
hurried from cellar to sap and shouted down the entrance of each, 
whereupon German soldiers by the score emerged into the light of day 
and surrendered. Well clothed, well nourished, so far as the men of 
the 14th could judge, and armed with scores of machine guns, these 
troops could have exacted bitter payment for every foot of ground 
yielded. Instead, apparently with the consent of a senior combatant 
officer, who was present, they surrendered without firing a shot. No 
count of them was taken, but Lieut.-Col. Worrall estimated that their 
number equalled the establishment of a full battalion. 

Pausing but a few minutes in Cagnicourt, the waves of the 14th 
Battalion attack pressed forward against the Buissy Switch. Soon 
after leaving the village, Lieut. McKean inflicted heavy losses on a 
body of the enemy retiring towards the Bois de Loison, and almost 
at the same time Lieut.-Col. Worrall used a “ sniping ” 18-pounder, 
which was attached to his Headquarters, to cut down several parties 
with shrapnel. Meanwhile, troops under Lieut. A. T. Howell had 
reached a point where six 5.9-inch howitzers were dug in. No defence 
of these guns was attempted, the crews abandoning them as the attack 
approached. Together with a motor lorry captured in Cagnicourt 
village, they accordingly became Battalion trophies. 

Soon after the capture of these guns, the advance of the Royal 
Montreal Regiment was checked by a battery of field artillery which 
the enemy, with courage and determination, brought into action in the 
open. Machine guns fired on this battery and gradually it was 
silenced, the attack of the 14th then sweeping forward into the Bois 
de Loison, where scores of Germans were captured and many, who 
sought shelter in deep saps, killed or wounded by grenades. 

By this time the dashing attack of the 14th had out-distanced 
the assault on the right and left flanks. From the right came indi- 
cations of heavy fighting, and it was obvious that troops on the left 
had encountered serious trouble in Villers lez Cagnicourt. Accordingly, 
under command of Capt. H. G. Brewer, the men of the 14th reorgan- 
ized and awaited developments, suffering sharply meanwhile from 
machine guns located near the western outskirts of Villers lez Cagni- 
court and in the Buissy Switch. 

When reorganization had been effected, Capt. Brewer decided to 
advance lo his final objective, the Buissy Switch. Dividing his forces, 
he placed Capt. G. V. Whitehead in control of the left section, and 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



241 



Lieuts. R. H. Hood and A. T. Howell in charge of the right. The 
move which followed involved the ascent of a long, bare slope, over- 
looked by the enemy and exposed to fire. A more difficult approach 
would be hard to imagine, yet, by splitting into small parties and 
advancing by quick, short rushes, the Royal Montrealers overcame 
the difficulty and reached their objective without suffering disas- 
trous loss. 

No sooner had Brewer, Whitehead, Hood, and Howell disposed 
their men in the captured position than the enemy, realizing that the 
Royal Montrealers might be trapped, stopped his retreat and began 
to feed a battalion into the Buissy Switch. At the same time he 
stiffened resistance against battalions on the right, which had worked 
into Queer Street, and against troops of the 2nd Brigade, who were 
still fighting in Villers lez Cagnicourt. Realizing that opposition had 
stiffened and that a counter-attack was possible, Lieut. -Col. G. E. 
McCuaig, of the 13th Battalion, used one of his companies to form a 
defensive flank north of Cagnicourt. 

All day on September 2nd Capt. Brewer and his men maintained 
their position in the Buissy Switch. Ammunition shortages threat- 
ened on several occasions, but were averted by small carrying parties 
of the Regiment, who, under heavy fire, dragged boxes of cartridges 
and bombs from points in the rear. In reporting on the events of the 
day, Capt. Brewer mentions the splendid support afforded by his offi- 
cers, particularly by Capt. Whitehead. He also calls to the Command- 
ing Officer’s attention the bravery of Sergt L. Driscoll, Lance-Corp. 
W. P. Adams, Lance-Corp. F. S. Shorten, and Privates McAvity, F. 
West, A. Dube, F. R. Sparrow, H. P. Barker, D. A. North, A. J. Gros- 
fils, J. G. Erskine, S. Medai, T. M. Kelly, J. Brand, J. Chase, and 
A. Fecteau. 

At 8 p.m. an officer of the 10th Canadian Battalion worked 
through to Capt. Brewer with a party of about 15 reinforcements, all 
that remained of the two sections with which he had started some time 
earlier. At about the same time Lieut. -Col. Worrall, realizing that 
the garrison of Buissy Switch had suffered severely during the long 
hours of the morning and afternoon, ordered Nos. 3 and 4 Companies 
to reach the position if possible. Moving off in obedience to the Com- 
manding Officer’s instructions, Capt, H. A. Thompson led Nos. 3 and 
4 Companies due east, and entered the Buissy Switch at a point 
within view of Buissy village. At this stage Capt. Thompson became 
aware of strong enemy forces moving in the Buissy Support Line, and 
realized that his chance of establishing contact with Capt. Brewer 



242 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



had vanished. Accordingly, he withdrew to a point some 500 yards 
west of the Switch and there remained until relieved by troops of the 
1st Canadian Infantry Brigade early on the morning of September 
3rd. Following his relief, the 1st Brigade moved forward and relieved 
Capt. Brewer’s weary garrison in the front line. 

Summing up the two days’ work, Lieut.-Col. Worrall reports that 
at one time 30 German aeroplanes swept low along the Canadian 
front, and harassed the attack with machine guns. Counter-fire from 
the ground is often ineffective, but on this occasion Lance-Corp. West, 
of No. 2 Coy., hit one plane with a burst of fire and killed the pilot, 
whereupon the machine crashed. In reporting this incident Lieut.- 
Col. Worrall mentions that the Battalion Lewis gunners had brought 
down five planes in just over a month, creating a record seldom sur- 
passed. Continuing his report to Brigade, the Commanding Officer 
of the 14th states: — “ My casualties for the operation were 13 officers 
and 260 other ranks (324 other ranks since entering the area) , includ- 
ing practically the whole of my Intelligence Section, along with the 
Scout Officer and Signalling Officer. During the past month I have 
lost 37 officers, 8 of whom were company commanders, 3 scout officers, 
1 signalling officer, 4 C.S.M’s., and practically the whole of my senior 
N.C.O’s ”. In offset to this serious list of losses, Lieut.-Col. Worrall 
records the killing and wounding of many Germans; the capture of 
a battalion of the enemy, 800 strong; the capture of a large dressing 
station, complete with officers and personnel; the seizure of six 5.9- 
inch howitzers, 16 field guns, 1 motor lorry, and an uncounted number 
of trench mortars, light machine guns, and heavy machine guns; also 
much valuable material. 

Amongst the officers referred to in Lieut.-Col. Worrall’s report 
were Capt. J. E. McKenna, commanding officer of No. 3 Coy., who, 
despite a wound received on the previous day, had led his men until 
knocked unconscious by the burst of a shell; Lieut. G. B. McKean, 
V.C., M.M., who, as previously mentioned, was wounded before the 
capture of Cagnicourt, but continued to lead his men until late in the 
afternoon; Lieut. J. G. Pullar, Signalling Officer, who lay on the field 
after his leg had been smashed by shell fire, noting the character of 
the opposition and forwarding reports to Battalion Headquarters; 
Lieut. W. S. Collins, commanding No. 1 Coy., who was wounded early 
in the attack, but remained at his post until wounded for the second 
time; Lieut. V. Quelch, commanding No. 4 Coy., who had served in 
the ranks and on the establishment of officers for a total of 33 months, 
and was badly wounded in the arm; Lieut. E. G. Campbell, who had 




vU'HAINS N1CAH AltKAS SkI’TKMBEU, 15) IS 









r 



1918 



THE CORPS STRIKES AGAIN 



243 



joined the Battalion in November, 1917; and Lieut. W. J. Cronk, who 
had been commissioned following service in the ranks. Both the last- 
named were w r ounded. 

In clearance of wounded from the field of battle, the engagement 
on September 2nd illustrated vividly a point which Lieut. -Col. Worrall 
had emphasized frequently in reports, namely, the necessity of pro- 
viding special stretcher parties from troops in reserve. The Battalion 
bearers, on September 2nd, toiled with the same admirable spirit which 
had marked their work throughout the war, but the area to be covered 
was too much for them and wounded would have lain unattended for 
hours, had it not been for Major E. E. Graham, M.C., Chaplain of 
the 13th Battalion, who took command of German prisoners and used 
them to carry casualties to the rear. Through the assistance rendered 
by this gallant officer and gentleman many wounded of the 14th Bat- 
talion were spared hours of suffering. 

IV 

Following relief by troops of the 1st Brigade, the 14th Battalion 
moved back into the Drocourt-Queant Line, where the men were given 
a few hours’ rest, interrupted by desultory shelling which wounded 
two men in No. 1 Coy. On the afternoon of September 3rd reorgan- 
izations were effected, as a result of which the Battalion, though much 
under strength and suffering from the loss of experienced officers and 
N.C.O’s., was restored to something approaching its accustomed effi- 
ciency. At 5 p.m. on September 4th the unit vacated the Drocourt- 
Queant Line and marched to Cherisy. Busses then conveyed the men 
to Warlus, whence they marched to billets in Berneville. 

September 5th was devoted to checking casualty returns, to pay 
parades, and to a general process of cleaning up. This last operation 
continued on the following day when all other ranks bathed and 
received issues of clean clothing. Routine training commenced on 
September 7th and continued on the 8th, when Major C. B. Price, 
D.C.M., assumed temporary command, vice Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, 
M.C., who proceeded on leave. On September 9th the men welcomed 
back the Regimental Band, which had been absent at the Army School 
for some six weeks, and on the evening of the 10th all ranks enjoyed 
a vaudeville entertainment provided by the concert party of the 16th 
Battalion. Sports occupied the afternoon of September 11th, and on 
the morning of the 12th the Battalion paraded to receive Lieut.-Gen. 
Sir Artnur Currie, who spoke feelingly of what the Corps had accom- 



244 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



plished and announced another big engagement in the near future. In 
the evening the men were well entertained by the 1st Divisional Con- 
cert Party. 

At 1 p.m. on September 19th the Royal Montreal Regiment left 
Bemeville, marched past Major-General A. C. Macdonell, the Divi- 
sional Commander, and proceeded to shelters and old trenches in the 
neighbourhood of Telegraph Hill, where five days were spent in organ- 
izing, equipping, and training for the great battle which Sir Arthur 
Currie had mentioned and which, unless all signs failed, was imminent. 

Meanwhile, the whole Allied front was aflame. On September 12th 
the First American Army, with four French divisions attached, drove 
against the St. Mihiel Salient, capturing 16,000 prisoners and 450 guns, 
and freeing the Paris-Avricourt Railway. It is true that the American 
attack struck a position which the enemy had decided, even com- 
menced, to evacuate, none the less the result was gratifying, marking 
as it did the first large-scale American operation in the war. A few 
days later, on September 18th, the Fourth and Third British Armies 
struck on a 17-mile front from Ilolnon to Gouzeaucourt. Though 
classed merely as a “ preparatory ” action, this engagement yielded 100 
guns and 12,000 prisoners. 



CHAPTER XXI 



ACROSS THE CANAL DU NORD 



Hark! ’Tis the rush of the horses, 

The crash of the galloping gun! 

The stars are out of their courses ; 

The hour of Doom has begun. 

— F. W. Bourdillon. 



I 

E ARLY in September, 1918, Marshal Foch and Field Marshal Sir 
Douglas Haig agreed on plans for continuation of the Allied 
offensive, to come into effect as soon as the First American 
Army, assisted by French divisions, had concluded operations against 
the St. Mihiel Salient. In his report on the plans adopted Sir Douglas 
states: — 

“ Ultimately it was decided that . . . four converg- 
ent and simultaneous attacks should be launched by the 
Allies as follows: — 

“ By the Americans west of Mezieres. 

“ By the French west of Argonne, in close co-opera- 
tion with the American attack and with the same general 
objectives. 

“ By the British on the St. Quentin-Cambrai front in 
the general direction of Maubeuge. 

“ By the Belgian and Allied forces in Flanders in 
the direction of Ghent. 

“ The results to be obtained from these different 
attacks depended in a peculiarly large degree upon the 
British attack in the centre. It was there that the enemy 
defences were most highly organized. If these were 
broken, the threat directed at his vital system of lateral 
communications would of necessity react upon his 
defences elsewhere 

In the carrying-out of the comprehensive plan sketched above, a 
prominent part was assigned to the Canadian Corps. In early Septem- 
ber, as told in the previous chapter of this book, the Corps broke 
through the hinge ot the Hindenburg Line, opening the way for an 
assault on the Canal du Nord, which stood as a formidable barrier 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



246 

between the Allies and hope of early victory. “ Upon the storming of 
this stupendous obstacle ”, states the author of “ Sir Douglas Haig’s 
Command ”, “ depended the issue of the battle on the entire front 
southwards to St. Quentin ”. With full realization of the difficulties 
and of the serious consequences which would attend defeat, Sir Douglas 
confidently awarded control of the attack to Sir Arthur Currie and 
the actual assault to the men of the Canadian Corps. By crossing the 
Canal and capturing Bourlon Wood and the high ground northeast 
of the Wood, the Corps would protect the left flank of a huge opera- 
tion to be carried out by the Third and Fourth British Armies. To 
assist the Corps in its dangerous mission, the 11th British Division 
and the 7th Tank Battalion were placed under the orders of Cana- 
dian Corps Headquarters. 

A clear impression of the plan for the Corps’ attack can be gained 
from Sir Arthur Currie’s report. “ This attack ”, states the Corps 
Commander, “ was fraught with difficulties. On the Corps’ battle- 
front of 6,400 yards the Canal du Nord was impassable on the northern 
3,800 yards. The Corps had, therefore, to cross the Canal du Nord 
on a front of 2,600 yards and to expand later fanwise in a north- 
easterly direction to a front exceeding 15,000 yards. This intricate 
manoeuvre called for most skilful leadership on the part of com- 
manders, and the highest state of discipline on the part of the troops. 

“ The assembly of the attacking troops in an extremely congested 
area, known by the enemy to be the only one available, was very 
dangerous ”, but “ careful arrangements were made by the counter- 
battery staff officer to bring to bear a specially heavy neutralizing fire 
on hostile batteries at any moment during the crucial period of prepar- 
ation. These arrangements were to be put into effect, in any case, at 
zero hour, to neutralize the hostile defensive barrage on the front of 
attack. 

“ With the exception of the 2nd Canadian Division, which . . . 
would be in Corps Reserve at the time of the attack, every resource 
of the Canadian Corps was to be crowded in that narrow space ”. 

As time progressed, details of the attack were discussed and 
settled, and the various units notified of the duties which would be 
theirs. Substantially, the order issued by the 3rd Brigade was as 
follows: — 

(1) On a date and at a time to be notified later, the 3rd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade will attack across the 
Canal du Nord, as part of an operation by the 
Canadian Corps. 



1918 



THE CANAL DU NORD 



247 



(2) The Corps attack will be to form a defensive flank, 
facing northeast, to protect a major attack by the 
Third and Fourth Armies. 

(3) The 3rd Brigade will attack on a one-battalion front. 

(4) The 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, will 
lead the attack. 

(5) The 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 
will follow the 14th across the Canal and “ leap- 
frog ” at a point on the far side, attacking north 
and east. 

(6) The 15th Battalion, 48th Highlanders, and the 2nd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade will later leap-frog ” 
the 13th Battalion, attacking north and northeast 
respectively. 

(7) The 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, will be in 
Brigade Reserve. 

When notified of the part which the Brigade was to take in forcing 
the Canal du Nord, Major C. B. Price, D.C.M., commanding the 14th 
Battalion in the absence of Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, M.C., studied the 
situation from a battalion point of view and issued instructions which, 
in substance, were as follows: — 

(1) Task of the 14th Battalion: — The 14th Battalion, 
R.M.R., will advance across the Canal on a two- 
company front of approximately 300 yards. Each 
company will be on a one-platoon frontage, unless 
conditions make it possible to increase same. No. 4 
Coy. will be on the left, supported by No. 1 Coy. 
No. 2 Coy. will be on the right, supported by No. 
3 Coy. 

(2) Assembly: — The Battalion will assemble in the 
vicinity of Paviland Wood. The exact position will 
be notified later. 

(3) Zero Hour: — Will- be named later. 

(4) Action after Crossing Canal: — Passing through the 
first belt of wire, No. 4 Coy. will swing to the left. 
No. 2 Coy. will pass through the second belt of wire 
and swing to the left, keeping touch with the 1st 
Canadian Infantry Brigade on the right. These 
companies will deal with the shell-hole system 
behind the first and second belts of wire. 



248 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



(5) Consolidation: — Nos. 2 and 4 Companies on the 
Red Line, from the Canal Bank to junction with 
the 1st Brigade. No. 3 Coy. will become support 
to Nos. 2 and 4 Companies and will mop up the 
support position. No. 1 Coy. will mop up the village 
of Sains lez Marquion, after which it will consolidate 
behind Nos. 3 and 4 Companies and become Bat- 
talion Reserve. 

(6) Barrage: — The barrage will advance at the rate of 
100 yards in 4 minutes. 

(7) Communications: — Visual Signalling Stations will 
be established at Battalion H.Q. and at the H.Q’s. 
of Nos. 2, 3, and 4 Companies. Nos. 2 and 4 Com- 
panies will signal capture of objectives to contact 
planes by lighting red flares. 

A few days later a sheet headed “ Instructions No. 2 ” was issued, 
with further details of the work to be accomplished. Amongst the 
more important, or interesting, paragraphs were the following: — 

(1) Leap-Frog: — In addition to the Canadian troops 
already mentioned, troops of the 34th Brigade, 11th 
British Division, will pass through our position in 
the Red Line after the Blue Line has been captured. 

(2) Barrage: — A special reverse protective barrage will 

be supplied during the mopping up of Sains lez 
Marquion. |Note: — Troops during this operation 

advanced towards their own guns, which dropped 
range as the operation progressed, instead of lifting 
as usual.] 

(3) Signals: — Signals have been amended as follows: — 
3 White Very Lights: — “ We are here 

3 Red Very Lights: — “We are held up here”. 

3 Green Very Lights: — “All right, stop your fire”. 

(4) Tanks: — If possible, four tanks of the 7th Tank 
Battalion will move forward at zero, cross the Canal, 
and assist in breaking the wire on the Brigade front. 

Still further instructions were .issued by Capt. A. II. Murphy, 
Acting Adjutant, on September 26th, and again the more interesting 
paragraphs are indicated: — 

(1) Booby Traps: — A special party, Canadian Engi- 
neers, will accompany No. I Coy. into Sains lez 
Marquion to search for booby traps. 



1918 



THE CANAL DU NORD 



249 



(2) Flares: — Gold and silver rain rockets rising from 
the Blue Line, just east of Bourlon Wood, will sig- 
nify capture of that position by troops of the 4th 
Canadian Division. 

(3) Signals:— 

(a) Flags Waved from Tanks to Infantry: — 

White and Green Flag: — “ Come on ”. 

Red and Yellow Flag: — “Am out of action”. 

Red- White-Blue Flag: — “ Am withdrawing ”. 

(b) Infantry to Tanks: — 

Helmet waved on rifle: — “ Come to my help 

II 

At 6.30 p.m. on September 24th the 14th Battalion, Royal Mont- 
real Regiment, marched from Telegraph Hill to Arras, where, after a 
delay of some four hours, the men entrained and proceeded to Bulle- 
court. Detraining at this spot at 6.15 a.m. on September 25th, the 
Battalion marched to the Hendecourt Area, whence, at night, the 
companies moved forward to relieve elements of the 18th Canadian 
Battalion in the Buissy Switch. 

A few minutes before 3 o’clock on the following afternoon, Bat- 
talion Headquarters was notified by Brigade that zero hour for the 
Canal du Nord attack had been placed definitely at 5.20 a.m. on 
September 27th. At half-past eight o’clock on the evening of the 
26th No. 4 Coy. of the Battalion moved off to seek its assembly posi- 
tion in Paviland Wood, Nos. 2, 3, and 1 Companies, and the Head- 
quarters Coy., following at half-hour intervals. For the attack the 
companies were commanded respectively by Lieut. C. E. Tuttle, Major 
J. H. Richardson, Capt. R. H. Walker, and Lieut. D. Woodward. 

During the concentration of the Corps for the attack on the Canal 
du Nord the enemy shelled, but not in volume sufficient to indicat-e 
that he was aware of what was taking place. A few gas shells fell in 
the area taken over by the Royal Montreal Regiment, but these caused 
no losses and interfered but little with the assembly, which was com- 
pleted by 11.30 p.m., largely owing to assistance by elements of the 
16th Battalion, who were holding this part of the front and were to 
act as Brigade Reserve. Curiously, a German machine gun nest, 
situated in the heart of the assembly position, was undiscovered until 
zero. At zero it was overwhelmed before it could open fire. 



250 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



Before morning the right assaulting company of the 14th pushed 
forward a party to reconnoitre a wire and water-filled dyke, immedi- 
ately to the front. This obstacle was to have been bridged, but cir- 
cumstances had prevented, and the men assembled on the bank. Heavy 
rain, and the necessity of wearing gas helmets, rendered this move- 
ment difficult. 

Sharp at 5.20 a.m., with a unanimity which demonstrated excellent 
watch synchronization, the Canadian guns opened fire, and the 
infantry, debouching from assembly positions, started forward against 
one of the most formidable lines of defence on the western front. 
Would the operation succeed, or was the task heavier than even the 
Corps, with all its proud record, could accomplish? On the morning 
of September 27th this question remained to be answered. 

Advancing behind the rolling barrage, the men of the 14th crossed 
two water and wire-filled ditches, and moved steadily towards the 
banks of the Canal, sweeping aside several concealed machine gun 
posts and capturing a number of prisoners. On approaching the 
Canal, Lieut. H. Campbell, in obedience to orders, led his platoon 
against a point which enfiladed that part of the Canal where the 
Battalion was to cross. As foreseen, a nest of machine guns was found 
at this spot, and a stiff fight followed, but Campbell’s men were not 
to be denied and before long the way was clear. Almost simultane- 
ously, Lieut. A. T. Ilowell, of No. 4 Coy., advanced ahead of his 
platoon and killed the crew of a machine gun which was impeding 
his advance. A second gun thereupon surrendered. 

At this stage of the operation machine gun fire from the far bank 
of the Canal threatened the waves of Nos. 2 and 4 Companies, which 
were preparing to slide down into the dry bed of the great Canal and 
scramble up the steep bank on the other side. Had the enemy main- 
tained the line of the Canal with all the power of his massed machine 
guns, disastrous losses must have ensued; instead the Germans left 
the defence to a limited number of machine gun posts, which were 
silenced by field guns, Lewis guns, and rifle grenades. 

Tumbling down into the great ditch at 5.45 a.m., the men of the 
14th climbed the opposite bank and re-formed to continue the attack. 
Driving through thick belts of wire, the attacking companies swung 
to the left as ordered, and pushed towards their objectives in the Red 
Line. In the middle stages of the engagement Major C. B. Price, 
Officer Commanding the Battalion, was wounded, but, despite his 
injury, he directed the operation until 8 a.m., when Lieut.-Col. Dick 
Worrall arrived back from leave and took over. Half an hour before 




Koval Montreal Kkoiml.vi Assembly Position. Canal ih Noun, 27tii September. 1918 




1918 



THE CANAL DU NORD 



251 



this, Major Price had the satisfaction of knowing that his forward 
companies had seized, and were holding, the Red objective. In the 
advance to this point Major J. H. Richardson and Capt. A. H. Murphy 
rendered sendees that were outstanding. After reaching the Line, 
Lieut. Howell and a sergeant of No. 4 Coy. captured 38 Germans in 
a large double-entrance dugout. 

Meanwhile, No. 1 Coy. had wheeled to the left to mop up Sains- 
lez-Marquion. Assembling on the south-western outskirts of the 
village, the Royal Montrealers awaited the special reverse barrage, 
which was soon hammering the town severely, but despite which 
machine guns from the upper storeys of houses fired continuously. 
Rifle grenades were directed at the windows whence the machine guns 
were firing, and a number were silenced. Others were eventually put 
out of action by the barrage. Though wounded and badly bruised by 
shell fire, Lieut. Tuttle, commanding No. 1 Coy., climbed on a tank 
when the barrage rolled back and directed mopping up of the village. 
Opposition during this process was half-hearted. A number of 
machine gun nests fought to the last, but for the most part the enemy, 
unprepared to meet this attack from the rear, surrendered as soon 
as the Canadians reached close quarters. This accounts for the fact 
that in the village, which was cleared by 8.30 a.m., No. 1 Company 
captured between 300 and 350 unwounded prisoners. 

Meanwhile, communication between the elements of the attack 
and Battalion Headquarters had been established and maintained in 
a manner that left little to be desired, largely due to the efforts of 
Lieut. A. Close, D.C.M., the Signalling Officer, who advanced with the 
attacking waves and established report centres as soon as objectives 
had been captured. Though casualties had seriously affected the 
Signalling Section in the engagements fought earlier in the month, the 
behaviour and efficient work of the Section on this occasion was held 
worthy of high commendation. Further evidence that the Battalion, 
despite losses, remained a fighting unit of marked efficiency was fur- 
nished by the smooth working of the chain of command. When offi- 
cers fell wounded, juniors took control and carried on without loss 
of time, or decrease in the power of the attack; when junior officers 
fell, non-commissioned officers stepped into the breach. In several 
instances privates handled sections, and in one case a private capably 
led a full platoon. 

As a result of the fighting up to the time when the 13th Battalion 
passed through the Red Line to continue the fanwise attack in the 
area beyond, the 14th Battalion had captured approximately 450 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



252 

prisoners, more than three score machine guns, a number of trench 
mortars, an anti-tank gun, and much material, including a complete 
listening set of fine appearance and costly construction. In offset to 
these gains the Battalion had suffered a casualty list of over 200, 
including Capt. H. A. Thompson, an original officer, once previously 
wounded, who was fatally wounded at the head of his men. In addi- 
tion, a number of officers were wounded. As already mentioned, Major 
C. B. Price, D.C.M., suffered his third wound of the war; and Capt. 
B. T. Jackson, Scout Officer, whose daring reconnaissances of the 
Canal had assisted the Battalion greatly, was wounded for the fourth 
time. Officers wounded for the second time included Lieut. A. T. 
Howell, M.C., Lieut. Daniel Woodward, M.C., Capt. R. H. Walker, 
and Lieut. J. G. A. Thatcher. Others on the list of wounded were 
Lieuts. E. G. Adams, Harry Andrews, C. P. R. Charlton, and Charles 
Craig. 

Following the operations on September 27th, while the Battalion 
still held the Red Line, messages arrived from Sir Arthur Currie, 
Major-General A. C. Macdonell, and Brig. -Gen. G. S. Tuxford, express- 
ing gratification at the manner in which the Canal had been stormed. 
On September 28th the Battalion remained in the Red Line in Divi- 
sional Reserve, equipping and reorganizing meanwhile in expectation 
of orders to participate in exploitation of the previous day’s success, 
which was being pushed to the uttermost. As a whole, the day was 
uneventful, though marked by aerial bombing, which wounded two 
men, and by arrival of a reinforcing draft of 1 officer and 20 men. 

When day dawned on September 29th, the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment still lay in the Red Line of the Canal du Nord attack. Reorgan- 
ization had been effected and the Battalion, though under strength, 
was prepared for whatever action might be demanded. This was well ; 
for the higher command dare not allow the enemy to recover from the 
blow which loss of the Canal Line had inflicted. Events on all fronts 
were moving towards that climax which served as the supreme object 
of Allied effort, namely, victory without another winter of heart- 
breaking and soul-destroying trench warfare. With such an end in 
view, weary troops could be given little rest, lest the still wearier 
enemy prolong the campaign and procure a stale-mate peace during 
the winter. 

That the Allied commanders had no intention of permitting such 
action was indicated by events along the front. On September 26th 
General Gouraud’s Fourth French Army of 27 divisions, plus 4 divi- 
sions on the right, advanced in co-operation with 13 American divi- 



Les/ree 




1918 



THE CANAL DU NORD 



253 



sions (equal in rifle strength to 30 French divisions) against German 
positions in the Argonne. Nineteen German divisions (six composed 
of first-class troops) faced this assault, and were driven back, together 
with an Austrian division attached. In places the Americans advanced 
too impetuously, with the result that their line on the night of Septem- 
ber 27th was located from 1 to 2 V 2 miles short of positions reported 
captured on the 26th. In spite of this situation, caused by inexperience 
similar to that displayed by the New British Armies in 1916, the 
Americans rallied, pushed their attack, and by October 12th had cap- 
tured 17,600 prisoners. By the same date the French Army co-opera- 
ting had captured 21,500. 

Two days after the Argonne offensive began, 13 Belgian divisions 
and 6 British divisions, under command of the King of the Belgians, 
launched an assault on 12 German divisions in Flanders. In forty- 
eight hours this attack had reached the Menin-Roulers Road, 10 miles 
away, and had captured 300 guns and 10,800 prisoners. Of these, 200 
guns and 6,000 prisoners were taken by the Belgians. 

Explanation of German weakness on the Argonne and Flanders 
fronts (but 4 German assault divisions were in Flanders) is found 
chiefly by examination of the British centre. Here, on September 25th, 
40 British divisions were opposed by 57 German divisions, including 
18 recognized as divisions of assault. Despite this concentration, the 
British smashed the German front and compelled the enemy to yield 
the strongest organized line of defence west of the Rhine. In co-opera- 
tion with her Allies, Britain, by this great battle, declared her definite 
intention of administering the coup-de-grace in 1918, and demon- 
strated her ability to do so. Hard fighting took place during October 
• — fighting in some places bitter beyond imagination — yet recogniz- 
able as the desperate attempt of brave individuals, or battalions, or 
even divisions, to avert the inevitable. After the operations on 
September 27th and the days immediately following, including the 
British and Canadian assault on the Canal du Nord, the Allied armies 
drove forward, realizing that final victory lay within their grasp. 



CHAPTER XXII 



THE ARMISTICE 

But yesterday the tourney, all the eager joy of life, 

The waving of the banners, and the rattle of the spears, 

The clash of sword and harness, and the madness of the strife ; 
To-night begin the silence and the peace of endless years. 

— John McCrae. 



I 

W HEN the Canadian Corps drove across the Canal du Nord, 
captured Bourlon Wood, and with the assistance of the 
splendid 11th British Division secured the high ground over- 
looking the Sensee Valley and the city of Cambrai, the enemy realized 
that his hold on that important centre was seriously threatened. 
Cambrai was vital to his plan for a successful autumn military defen- 
sive and a winter political campaign for a drawm peace. Accordingly, 
as the Corps, in exploitation of the Canal success, uncovered point 
after point in Cambrai’s defences, resistance stiffened till, in contrast 
to what had occurred at some places in September, Germany’s troops 
were fighting with all the courage and determination which had 
marked their work of old. Referring to the actions which followed 
the crossing of the Canal, Sir Arthur Currie mentions that on Septem- 
ber 29th, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Canadian Divisions all made progress 
“ in the face of severe opposition On September 30th further gains 
were made, but by this time the enemy was fighting with his back to 
the wall and with the courage born of despair. Accordingly, he flung 
reserves into the engagement and the Canadian divisions were forced 
to yield a portion of the ground captured. “ The net gains for the 
day ”, to quote the Corps Commander, “ were the capture of Tilloy 
and some progress made on the right of the 3rd Canadian Division 
from Neuville St. Remy south 

On orders from Headquarters of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Bri- 
gade, the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, marched from 
the Red Line of the Canal du Nord attack on September 30th, and 
relieved the 7th Canadian Battalion in a position north of Bourlon 
and near the Cambrai Road. From this spot Licut.-Col. Worrall 
proceeded in the evening to attend a meeting of battalion commanders 
at Brig.-General Tuxford’s H.Q. Returning at 7.30 p.m., Worrall 
summoned his company commanders and announced that the Bat- 
talion would attack early on the morrow. Plans were accordingly 



1918 



THE ARMISTICE 



255 



drawn up for an assault with No. 1 Coy. leading and Nos. 3, 4, and 
2 Companies following in the order named. 

At 11.45 p.m. Nos. 1 and 3 Companies moved off in pouring rain, 
Nos. 4 and 2 Companies following, but losing touch when heavy 
Brigade machine guns impeded progress. Darkness, mud, water-filled 
shell holes, barbed wire, and the fact that no reconnaissance of the 
area had been possible, rendered assembly difficult in the extreme, 
nevertheless the last man was in position, southwest of the Cambrai- 
Douai Road, facing the village of Sancourt, at 4.50 o’clock in the 
morning. Ten minutes later, with a total strength of 13 officers and 
375 other ranks, the Battalion launched its attack. 

At 5 o’clock on the morning of October 1st when the Royal Mont- 
real Regiment advanced against the enemy, no barrage maps were 
available, the men knowing only that the curtain of fire would move 
back 100 yards every 4 minutes, with a halt east of the village of 
Blecourt and another on a line through the middle of the village of 
Bantigny. Pressing forward behind the barrage, the men penetrated 
a costly counter-barrage along the Arras-Cambrai Road and then 
passed through Blecourt without serious opposition, though machine 
gun fire struck the attack at intervals and inflicted a number of 
casualties. 

Shortly after 6 a.m. the barrage lifted off Bantigny, and, under 
the leadership of the Commanding Officer, the waves of the Battalion 
moved to the assault. Soon, however, the barrage became “ loose ” 
and a number of guns dropped shells on territory into which the 14th 
had advanced, causing losses and a measure of disorganization. Com- 
munication with the artillery had not been established up to this time 
and visual signalling to the rear brought no results, accordingly Lieut.- 
Col. Worrall faced a problem. He solved it by ordering the men to 
take refuge in shell holes until the artillery definitely lifted. 

About 7 o’clock a patrol of the Battalion pushed into Bantigny, 
defeated an enemy patrol which attempted to interfere, and returned 
with information that the cellars of the town were filled with Ger- 
mans. Realizing that these troops, if given respite from shell fire, 
would man the machine gun defences of the village, and noticing that 
the barrage was lifting, Lieut.-Col. Worrall ordered his men to charge. 
Simultaneously, Major Bell-Irving, of the 16th Battalion, ordered his 
men forward on the right flank. 

Success attended the assault of the 14th on Bantigny. One com- 
pany pushed straight into the village by the main road, one by a road 
somewhat to the side, and a third by way of the village cemetery. 



256 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



Taken by surprise, many of the garrison surrendered, approximately 
100 being passed back to the units in support. Others fled, but a 
minority fought and died at their posts of duty. By 7.30 o’clock 
opposition in the village had been overcome and the forward companies 
of the 14th were advancing across the fields beyond, maintaining 
touch with the companies of the 16th Battalion on the right. All was 
going well at this stage and Licut.-Col. Worrall ordered his reserve 
company to move through Bantigny, at the same time instructing his 
forward companies to push patrols to a sunken road some distance 
ahead. 

Two batteries of enemy artillery, one in front and one to the left, 
came into action a little later, and machine guns firing from the left 
gave warning that the flank on that side had become exposed. Simul- 
taneously, a German plane flew over the Canadian position, escaping 
from rifle fire and carrying back information as a result of which the 
enemy artillery and machine gun fire became more effective. Fortun- 
ately, the enemy ahead of the Royal Montrealers failed to appreciate 
the opportunity on the Battalion’s exposed left flank. One enemy 
company attacked the Battalion front, was driven back, attacked 
again, and once more suffered a sharp check. Undeterred by two 
failures, the enemy again advanced in an effort to crush the Canadian 
front, but for the third time his attack broke down under fire from 
rifles and machine guns. 

About 9 a.m. the enemy changed tactics and began to filter machine 
gunners along high ground north of Bantigny, the gun crews joining 
others already in position and opening heavy fire. At this time Lieut.- 
Col. Worrall sent Capt. A. H. Murphy, his Acting Adjutant, to com- 
plete disposition of the advanced companies and, if possible, to organ- 
ize a rusli against enemy field batteries, which were giving serious 
trouble. Communication had become difficult, as runners had been 
killed and several of the Signalling Section killed or wounded, includ- 
ing Lieut. A. Close, D.C.M., a gallant member of the original Battalion, 
who was killed early in the engagement by the enemy barrage on the 
Arras-Cambrai Road. 

Disorganization of communications following the death of the 
Signalling Officer and a number of his section had created a serious 
situation. At 9.45 a.m. Lieut.-Col. Worrall determined to make his 
way back to Headquarters of the 33th Battalion, in support, and from 
there send a report to Brigade, his decision being hastened by news 
that additional field guns were coming into action against his front. 
Two runners whom Worrall sent back with this report were killed 



1918 



THE ARMISTICE 



257 



before they had gone fifty yards. At this time German artillery was 
firing heavily on Bantigny and Cuvillers, and smoke shells were 
screening troops working down a valley on the Battalion left. Addi- 
tional artillery rendered the situation perilous. Leaving Capt. 
Murphy in command of the Battalion, Lieut.-Col. Worrall made his 
way back through the enemy barrage and, from 13th Battalion Head- 
quarters, telephoned to Brig.-Gen. Tuxford, who ordered him to remain 
where he was, until Divisional Headquarters could obtain informa- 
tion as to conditions on the left flank. 

Meanwhile, in the front line, the Canadian Scottish and the Royal 
Montrealers were suffering sharply from enfilading machine and field 
guns, and soon it became apparent that only by retirement could 
disaster be avoided. Accordingly, at a little before 10.30 a.m., the 
16th Battalion moved back from Cuvillers, and simultaneously Lieut. 
H. Campbell, M.M., commanding the foremost company of the 14th, 
ordered his men back to conform. Covered by riflemen, the retire- 
ment was successfully carried out, Lieut. Campbell, though wounded, 
remaining until the last man was clear. He was then seen to start 
back himself, but he failed to reach the position where the retiring 
company stood fast. His name, therefore, was added to the roll of 
“ wounded and missing ”. At a later date the Battalion heard with 
pleasure that the wounded officer had not perished, but was a prisoner 
in Germany. 

Taking a stand not far from Bantigny, the companies of the 14th, 
under Capt. Murphy, faced a strong attack, supported by machine 
gun and artillery fire from the high ground to the left. Simultane- 
ously, an equally powerful attack developed against the Cuvillers 
neighbourhood from the right. These threatened to cut off the Bat- 
talion, and Capt. Murphy realized that a further retirement must 
take place without delay. Accordingly, he directed a retreat towards 
a sunken road, which offered a line for continued resistance, though 
commanded by the enemy from three directions. 

Manning the bank of the sunken road, the men of the 14th beat 
off a number of frontal attacks, supported by galling and costly 
enfilade. In one instance, without waiting for orders, seven men of 
the 14th and 16th stepped up and were killed in succession while 
operating a machine gun on the road’s edge. During the morning the 
enemy worked into Blecourt and constantly reinforced his already 
strong establishment of machine guns. Shortly after noon, as casual- 
ties mounted and as rifle ammunition ran low, Capt. Murphy decided 



258 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



to withdraw along the sunken road in the direction of Chapel Corner. 
At this point the 14th connected up with troops already in position. 

At 12.30 p.m. Lieut.-Col. C. W. Peck, D.S.O., of the 16th Battalion, 
and Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, M.C., of the 14th, advanced together 
in an effort to discover just how stood the situation in the forward 
area. Machine gun fire from the left flank was intense at the time 
and the two colonels could proceed only by short rushes. Convinced 
by this reconnaissance that any attempt to advance was inadvisable 
so long as the enemy controlled high ground on the flank, Lieut.-Col. 
Worrall withdrew all elements of the 14th Battalion into the sunken 
road, where they remained until relieved by troops of the 2nd Cana- 
dian Division late that same night. When relieved the trench strength 
of the Battalion totalled just 92 all ranks. 

In reporting on the engagement of October 1st, Lieut.-Col. Worrall 
emphasized the bitter disappointment felt by his Battalion at having 
to yield a portion of the ground captured. The situation permitted 
no alternative, as to remain in the trenchless and shelterless area 
beyond Bantigny would have involved annihilation, or capture, fol- 
lowing exhaustion of ammunition. Nevertheless, the men regretted the 
retreat and ignored the not inconsiderable ground which the attack 
had gained. To be forced back from their final objective was an 
experience which rankled. 

Among the reasons for the partial failure was the breakdown of 
liaison between the attacking waves and the supporting artillery. As 
Lieut.-Col. Worrall mentioned in his report, German field batteries 
were served in full view of his men and could easily have been knocked 
out, had it been possible to inform the supporting artillery of their 
location. Against rifle and machine gun fire the gun crews were pro- 
tected by armour-plated shields, but these would not have availed 
against shell fire. To prevent repetition of such a situation, Lieut.- 
Col. Worrall suggested that, as in the early September engagements 
before Arras, sniping field guns be attached to each assaulting bat- 
talion. Late in the afternoon on October 1st liaison with the artillery 
was definitely established, but by this time it was too late to carry 
the day’s operations to a successful conclusion. 

In continuing his report, Lieut.-Col. Worrall referred to the fact 
that the Royal Montreal Regiment went into action with but 13 
officers and few experienced N.C.O’s. He respectfully pointed out 
that, though on this occasion disaster had been avoided and all ranks 
had behaved in a manner to reflect credit on the Regiment, the policy 
of sending weakened units against positions of unknown strength was 



1918 



THE ARMISTICE 



259 

dangerous, and to be avoided if reinforcements could possibly be 
obtained. He added that, at the moment of writing, the 14th Bat- 
talion roll showed a strength of 8 officers only, with no regimental 
sergeant-major, no company sergeants-major, and a bare minimum of 
N.C.O’s. If effective work was to be carried on, therefore, reinforce- 
ments were urgently needed. 

The shortage of officers mentioned is explained by casualties suf- 
fered on October 1st. As mentioned previously, Lieut. A. Close, 
D.C.M., was killed and Lieut. H. Campbell, M.M., wounded and 
missing. In addition to these, Major J. H. Richardson was wounded 
for the second time, as were Lieuts. R. H. Filshill, R. A. Stewart, and 
C. E. Tuttle. Lieut. R. M. Lawton, an original member of the Bat- 
talion, was also wounded, and Regimental Sergeant-Major W. Farnell 
lost both his eyes. The loss of these officers, in conjunction with the 
grievous casualties sustained since the opening of the Battle of Amiens, 
left the fabric of the Battalion badly in need of repair. 

II 

When relieved by troops of the 2nd Canadian Division late on the 
night of October 1st, the 14th Battalion moved to a position near the 
Arras-Cambrai Road about half-way between Raillencourt and Mar- 
quion, where it remained, resting and refitting, until the morning of 
October 5th. Previous to leaving the area, the Battalion was strength- 
ened by 171 other ranks, amongst whom were many French-Canadians. 
These men from the Province of Quebec reminded veterans of the 
time when No. 4 Coy. had been composed of French-speaking troops. 
No. 4 had never lost all its French personnel, but, after the 22nd 
Battalion arrived in France, officers and men of French descent had 
for the most part been posted to that unit, No. 4 Coy. of the 14th 
absorbing English-speaking troops as casualties and transfers removed 
French soldiers from the roll. 

While the Battalion was in position between Raillencourt and 
Marquion, Sir Arthur Currie issued a Special Order dealing with the 
fighting of the previous five days. After referring to the completely 
satisfactory manner in which the Corps had carried out its task of 
protecting the flank of the Third and Fourth Armies, also to the 
viciousness of the enemy’s machine gun defence, Sir Arthur states:— 
“ Every evidence confirms the fact that the enemy 
suffered enormous casualties. He fought stubbornly and 
well and for that reason your victory is more creditable. 



260 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



You have taken in this battle over 7,000 prisoners and 
200 field and heavy guns, bringing the total captures of 
the Canadian Corps since August 8th of this year to 
28,000 prisoners, 500 guns, over 3,000 machine guns and 
a large amount of stores of all kinds. 

“ In the short period of two months the Canadian 
Corps — to which were attached the 32nd (British) Divi- 
sion for the Battle of Amiens, the 4th and 51st (British) 
Divisions for the Battle of Arras, and the 11th (British) 
Division for this Battle of Cambrai — has encountered 
and defeated decisively 47 German divisions; that is 
nearly a quarter of the total German forces on the 
Western Front. I am proud of your deeds and I want 
to record here my heartfelt thanks for your generous 
efforts and my unbounded confidence in your ability to 
fight victoriously and crush the enemy wherever and 
whenever you meet him ”. 

Two days after this Special Order revealed the magnitude of the 
Corps’ effort, the 14th Battalion marched from the Marquion district 
to the Vis-en-Artois area. At 5 p.m. on October 6th, the platoons of 
the 14th moved forward to the Monchy-le-Preux area to act as reserve 
for the 13th and 15th Battalions, which were occupying the front line, 
and the 16th Battalion, which was serving as Brigade Support. On 
the following day the rear details of the Battalion moved from the 
Yis-en-Artois area to a point about two kilometres west of St. Rohart 
Factory. 

At this Factory all other ranks bathed on October 9th or 10th, 
the parades not interfering on the 9th when the Battalion, to maintain 
touch with the front, moved to a position some 2,000 yards forward. 
On the 11th of the month one officer from each company advanced to 
arrange relief of the 15th Battalion in the left Brigade section of the 
front line, but, as the enemy was in retreat with the Highlanders 
pressing on his heels, the operation was abandoned. 

At 4 a.m. on October 12th the 14th Battalion advanced to a posi- 
tion not far from Sailly-en-Ostrevent, completing the movement in 
two hours and awaiting further orders. When these arrived the unit 
marched to a position in front of Sailly-en-Ostrevent, which had 
formed one of the strong points in the extension of the Drocourt- 
Queant Line. Here troops of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade took 
over the front, and the 14th withdrew to an area south of Eterpigny 
and near the Arras-Cambrai Road. 



1918 



THE ARMISTICE 



261 



While the 3rd Brigade had been employed in operations near 
Sailly-en-Ostrevent, Cambrai had fallen. Describing the culminating 
phase of the operations against the city, Sir Arthur Currie says: — 

“ In spite of the darkness of a rainy night, the 
assembly was completed and the attack was success- 
fully launched at 1.30 a.m. on October 9th. Rapid prog- 
ress was made and at 2.25 a.m. the 2nd Canadian 
Division had captured Ramillies and established posts 
on the Canal there. . . . 

“ By 3.35 a.m. our Infantry were well established on 
the eastern side of the Canal. The 3rd Canadian Divi- 
sion had cleared the railway, and their patrols were 
pushing into Cambrai, while the Engineers were com- 
mencing work on the bridges. By 8 a.m. the 2nd Cana- 
dian Division had captured Escaudoeuvres and had 
established a line — to the north and east 

The advance was continued on the 10th by the' 11th (British) 
Division and the 2nd Canadian Division, the 3rd Canadian Division 
having been withdrawn to the Inchy-Queant area. Next day, with 
the 49th (British) Division on the right and the 2nd Canadian Divi- 
sion on the left, the Canadian Corps continued its drive forward. At 
5 o’clock that same afternoon Sir Arthur Currie handed over command 
of the Corps front (less the 11th Divisional section) to the G.O.C. 
XXII Corps and at the same hour assumed command of the XXII 
Corps front, this exchange signifying that the Canadians’ part in the 
great Cambrai battle was over. 

Summing up the results achieved, Sir Arthur Currie reported: — 

“ Since August 26th the Canadian Corps had 
advanced twenty-three miles, fighting for every foot of 
ground and overcoming the most bitter resistance. 

“ In that period the Canadian Corps engaged and 
defeated decisively 31 German Divisions, reinforced by 
numerous Marksmen Machine Gun Companies. These 
divisions were met in strongly fortified positions and 
under conditions most favourable to the defence. 

“ In this battle 18,585 prisoners were captured by us, 
together with 371 guns, 1,923 machine guns and many 
trench mortars. Over 116 square miles of French soil, 
containing 54 towns and villages, and including the city 
of Cambrai, were liberated 



2G2 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 

All this, however, had been effected only at the cost of a grievous 
list of killed and wounded. Over 4,000 Canadians had been killed, 
25,000 wounded, and 2,000 posted as “ missing The campaign to 
bring peace without another winter of warfare had cost Canada dear, 
and success alone could justify the price. Would success attend the 
efforts which still lay ahead? 



Ill 

On October 15th, 1918, Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall and other officers 
of the 14th Battalion attended the funeral of Major-General L. J. 
Lipsett, G.O.C. the 4th British Division, w'ho had fallen in action in 
the forward area. General Lipsett had served in the Canadian Corps 
and led its 3rd Division with marked ability, consequently it was 
with regret and profound respect that all present joined in the honours 
paid as the body of the dead officer was committed to earth. War 
provides contrasts, and the change from sorrow to rejoicing is often a 
matter of hours. This was exemplified on the day following General 
Lipsett’s funeral, when Brig.-Gencral G. S. Tuxford was host at a 
luncheon for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. The commanding officers 
of the 3rd Brigade battalions assisted in welcoming the Prince, whose 
work as a soldier in France had commanded the respect and esteem 
of the whole Canadian Corps. 

Following the luncheon, the men of the Battalion proceeded to 
Eterpigny, where gas helmets were tested in preparation for a tour in 
the front line. At 7 a.m. on October 18th, the Regiment marched, by 
way of Dury, Lecluse, Tortcquenne, and Estrees, to a point where 
the Canal de la Sensee was crossed, and thence to Gceuelzin, which 
was reached about 11 a.m. Resting in billets until 4.30 p.m., the Bat- 
talion then proceeded about 3 kilometres to Erchin, arriving just at 
dusk. Shells were falling on the outskirts of the town, but good 
fortune attended the 14th and casualties were avoided. 

At 6 o’clock on the morning of October 19th the Battalion leap- 
frogged the 8th Canadian Battalion and took up pursuit of the fast- 
retiring Hun. No opposition was encountered, and by 11 a.m. the 
advance had reached Somain. Rejoicing attended the progress of the 
Regiment, as the advance had now penetrated the “ war zone ” and 
was sweeping across country little devastated by shell fire. Capture 
of a village, therefore, did not mean occupation of a rubble heap, 
battered beyond all recognition; instead it implied liberation of a 
standing town, whose inhabitants for four years had endured virtual 



1918 



THE ARMISTICE 



263 



slavery. Unable to conceal their deep emotion, old men and old 
women — the youth of the towns had gone — rushed to embrace the 
soldiers, to offer little gifts, and to bedeck them with hastily-gathered 
flowers. Tears flowed, and even the eyes of the sympathetic troops 
were not altogether dry when someone produced a faded flag, sym- 
bolic to the people of all that made life worth living. The men of the 
14th enjoyed the stirring scenes marking liberation of each little com- 
munity, but orders that the fleeing enemy must be followed were not 
even momentarily forgotten. Accordingly, the Battalion pressed for- 
ward, leaving a grateful people behind. Not far beyond Somain, Lieut.- 
Col. Worrall and Lieut.-Col. C. W. Peck, V.C., of the 16th, sighted a 
patrol of Uhlans, whom they chased for a considerable distance. Both 
colonels tried to overtake the Germans, but the enemy horses were 
fast and easily left the Canadians behind. 

At 1 p.m. the left flank of the Regiment swept past the village of 
Erre, and at 1.30 p.m. the advance reached Hornaing. Without delay, 
the Battalion pushed on to Helesmes, east of which a line was estab- 
lished for the night. While the companies manned the line, Battalion 
Headquarters occupied a billet in Helesmes, which had recently housed 
the German District Commandant. By every means in their power 
the people of the town tried to demonstrate how pleased they were to 
welcome British troops and bid the enemy over-lord good-bye. 

On October 20th the 13th and the 15th Battalions continued the 
advance of the 3rd Brigade, with the 14th and 16th Battalions follow- 
ing closely in support. Opposition was encountered by the forward 
battalions, which suffered casualties, but eventually this was over- 
come, and at night a line was established somewhat to the east of 
Wallers. Interest was aroused during the advance on this day by 
vast plantations of cabbages and other vegetables. These had been 
laid out and tended by the Germans, who little thought that the 
product of their care would be gathered in by their enemies. 

Advancing at 8.30 a.m. on October 21st, the 14th Battalion leap- 
irogged the 13th at a spot on the Grand Bray-Aremberg Road, and 
pushed pursuit of the enemy. By this time orders had been issued 
that troops were to be spared where possible and responsibility for 
avoiding casualties placed squarely on the shoulders of battalion and 
subordinate commanders. Accordingly, after several men had fallen, 
the 14th halted outside the village of Raismes until heavy machine 
gun fire and fire from field guns could be silenced. After some hours, 
during which Capt. MacRitchie prepared plans for an attack, this 



264 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



was effected, and the village occupied, the Battalion then holding the 
line of the St. Amand-Valenciennes Road for the night. 

On October 22nd the Royal Montreal Regiment was relieved by 
the 52nd Canadian Battalion and marched back to billets in Fenain. 
Actually, this relief marked the end of the Battalion’s fighting career, 
for while the 3rd Brigade was refitting, the armistice brought hostili- 
ties to a close. This could not be foreseen on October 22nd, and the 
men of the 14th withdrew to Fenain expecting to rest, equip, and 
re-engage with the least possible delay. 

Three days after arrival at Fenain the Battalion paraded in honour 
of Sergt. A. J. Jacques, Sergt. J. C. McCowan, Pte. S. Medai, Pte. F. 
N. .Jerome, Pte. F. Atkin and Pte. R. W. Baum, who were presented 
with the ribbon of the Military Medal and Bar; and in honour of 26 
other ranks, who received the Military Medal. In October a number 
of honours lists were posted in which the sendees of officers and men 
received recognition. To the gratification of all ranks, Lieut.-Col. 
Dick Worrall, M.C., received the Distinguished Service Order, this 
award being followed by announcement that a Bar to the D.S.O. had 
also been granted. Similarly, Capt. H. G. Brewer was first informed 
that he had been awarded the Military Cross and soon thereafter that 
a Bar had been added. In addition to these popular awards, the Mili- 
tary Cross was granted to Capt. J. E. McKenna, to Capt. J. Patterson, 

D. C.M., and to Lieuts. V. Quelch, W. S. Collins, G. B. McKean, V.C., 
M.M., B. T. Jackson, J. G. Pullar, G. Beattie, H. H. Robinson, and 

E. C. Gough, all of whom had served with distinction and the majority 
of whom had become casualties in the fighting subsequent to August 
8th. Recognition of the splendid work of N.C.O’s. and men was 
afforded, not only by the Military Medals mentioned above, but by 
award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal to A/C.S.M. H. C. Byce, 
Sergt. \V. J. Bucklee, Sergt. G. Fairbairn, Lance-Corp. C. A. Elliott, 
Lance-Corp. W. P. Adams, M.M., Pte. J. G. Erksine, M.M., and Pte. 
W. G. Hill. 

November 1st, 1918, found the Battalion still in billets at Fenain. 
At 3 p.m. the 3rd Brigade paraded, together with transport, for inspec- 
tion by Major-General A. C. Macdonell, G.O.C. the 1st Canadian 
Division, who expressed satisfaction at the rapidity with which the 
shattered battalions were being made ready for further service. On 
November 2nd the 14th took on strength a draft of 120 other ranks, 
50 of whom hail seen previous service, and on the 4th of the month 
Capt. E. A. Adams, Lieut. S. J. McEwen, M.C., and Lieut. R. M. 
Lawton, who had recovered from wounds, reported for duty, as did 



1918 



THE ARMISTICE 



265 

Lieut. R. W. Collyer, who was assigned to the Intelligence Section. 
Several days later, Capt. J. Patterson, M.C., D.C.M., who had been 
wounded in the fighting at Arras, returned to the Battalion and 
assumed command of No. 4 Coy. 

November 10th was marked by departure of a guard of honour, 
commanded by Capt. G. V. Whitehead, to assist in ceremonies atten- 
dant on the visit of the President of the French Republic to the city 
of Denain. This guard, which included Lieut. C. H. Sullivan, Lieut. 
A. D. C. Parnell, and 100 other ranks, carried out its duties satisfac- 
torily and was complimented for its bearing and behaviour. Previous 
to its departure, a list of honours gained by other ranks of the Bat- 
talion in the fighting between September 27th and October 1st was 
posted. On this list appeared the name of Lanee-Corp. F. N. Jerome, 
who was awarded a Second Bar to his Military Medal, and that of 
Acting Company Sergeant-Major H. C. Bvce, D.C.M., who received 
from the French Government the Medaille Militaire. Bars to their 
Military Medals were awarded to Sergts. W. M. Miller, F. Gamlet, 
R. E. Carpenter, and F. H. Mundy, also to Corp. E. S. Record, Lance- 
Corporals H. Bureau and A. R. Smith, and to Privates L. Christie, 
C. A. Sherman, G. Munro, and M. D’Arcy. Simultaneously, 20 other 
ranks w r ere awarded the Military Medal. 

Meanwhile, in the front line, troops of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th 
Canadian Divisions, in conjunction with British forces and in co-oper- 
ation with great attacks by the French and American Armies, were 
driving the Germans from one position after another. As a result of 
heavy fighting at Mont Ilouy, Valenciennes was cleared of the enemy 
on November 2nd, but no pause in the attack ensued. Early on the 
morning of November 11th the 3rd Canadian Division captured Mons 
and there received orders to stand fast. German envoys had signed 
an armistice and the Great War was over. Curiously, so far as the 
British Army was concerned, it ended where it began, at Mons, in 
Belgium. In gun-pits from which it had fired at German cavalry 
scouts in 1914, a battery of British artillery fired just before hostili- 
ties ceased. Four years had intervened and a million British fighting 
men had died between the date when the battery opened fire against 
the German horsemen and the date when it fired for the last time 
against the enemy in grey. Something of this filled the hearts of 
Canadian troops who proudly marched past Sir Arthur Currie in 
Mons on that November day, for all realized that victory had been 
gained, not by the living alone, but equally by that gallant host which 
would answer no reveille blown at the lips of man. 



266 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



So far as the situation on the British front at the moment of the 
Armistice is concerned, it is clearly explained in Sir Douglas Haig’s 
report of January, 1919. 

“ The military situation on the British front on the 
morning of November 11th ”, writes the Commander-in- 
Chief, “ can be stated very shortly. In the fighting since 
November 1st, our troops had broken the enemy resist- 
ance beyond possibility of recovery, and had forced on 
him a disorderly retreat along the whole front of the 
British armies. Thereafter, the enemy was capable 
neither of accepting nor refusing battle. The utter con- 
fusion of his troops, the state of his railways, congested 
with abandoned trains, the capture of huge quantities 
of rolling stock and material, all showed that our attack 
had been decisive 



CHAPTER XXIII 



OVER THE GERMAN BORDER 



O England of our Fathers and England of our Sons, 

Along the dark horizon line the day-dawn glory runs, 

For golden Peace is drawing near, her paths are on the sea, 

He grips the hearts of all mankind who stands for Liberty. 

— Frederick George Scott. 



I 

S OON after the Armistice the British Army moved through Bel- 
gium to occupy German territory on the Rhine. Simultaneously, 
France, Belgium, and the United States sent armies to garrison 
bridgeheads, pending the negotiation of a treaty of peace. The sphere 
of occupation assigned to the British centred on Cologne, to reach 
which a long march was necessary. Troops, however, were anxious to 
join the Army of Occupation, and rivalry for a place in the Rhine 
Column was keen. So far as Canadians were concerned, the point 
was settled by announcement that the Corps, composed for the time 
being of the 1st and 2nd Divisions, would march, leaving the 3rd and 
4th Divisions in billets in Belgium. 

At 7.40 a.m. on November 11th, 3rd Brigade forwarded to the 14th 
Battalion, at Fenain, the formal announcement “ Hostilities cease 
to-day at 11.00 hours”. Hostilities ceased; but training continued, 
and on the 12th the Commanding Officer, appreciating that a sense 
of anti-climax might strike at efficiency, ordered rigid inspections. 

Parading in full marching order at 7.30 a.m. on November 13th, 
the Regiment, with a ration strength of 805 all ranks, proceeded, by 
way of Erre, Hornaing, Helesmes, Wallers, Haveluy, and Herin, to 
join the Second Army at la Sentinelle. Nineteen kilometres were 
covered, and the march ended at 3.45 p.m. Major C. B. Price, D.C.M., 
rejoined on this date, assuming his former post of Second-in-Com- 
mand, and Lieut. B. L. Butler reported from the 10th Reserve 
Battalion and was posted to No. 3 Coy. Lieut. R. A. Stewart and 
Lieut. L. M. Hooker reported on the 14th and 15th respectively, and 
were posted, the former to No. 1 Coy., and the latter to No. 2. 

In obedience to Operation Order No. 308, issued by Capt. D. Mac- 
Ritchie, Adjutant, the Battalion marched on the 14th of the month 
to Elouges in Belgium, a distance of 25 kilometres. Leaving la Senti- 
nelle at 8 a.m., the column skirted Valenciennes to reach the Mons 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 1918 



268 

Road, passed through St. Saulve, Onnaing, Quarouble, and Quievre- 
chain in France, crossed into Belgium at Quievrain at 1.30 p.m., and 
reached Elouges at a quarter to five. Throughout the march the troops 
were greeted by many civilians, who were returning to the homes 
whence the Germans had driven them. The condition of many w r as 
pitiful; but all seemed full of hope and gratitude to the troops, whom 
they applauded as liberators of their soil and conquerors of their 
enemy. At one point the column encountered German officers, pro- 
ceeding in a white-flagged motor to negotiate with British G.H.Q. 
The refugees spat on the ground at sight of this car and cursed to 
relieve their feelings, but made no attempt to delay its progress. 

On November 15th the Royal Montreal Regiment marched 11 
kilometres to Quaregnon. passing through the towns of Boussu, Homu, 
and Wasmuel en route. The pace was slow, as the roads were con- 
gested, but the troops enjoyed the march, for the inhabitants along 
the way cheered enthusiastically. With emotion the good people 
thanked the troops for delivery from German oppression, abandoning 
restraint and weeping openly when, in the afternoon, the 14th Bat- 
talion brass band played Belgian patriotic airs, beloved of the people, 
but long “ verboten ”. Many letters describing the rejoicings were 
mailed to Canada by the troops, these, for the first time in the cam- 
paign, not being subject to Army censorship. 

In comfortable billets at Quaregnon the Battalion passed Novem- 
ber Kith and 17th, the former date marked by the return to Regimental 
duty of Lieut. J. \Y. Green. M.C., D.C.M., who had been seconded to 
the 3rd Canadian Trench Mortar Battery, and the latter date by 
departure of 2 officers and 15 other ranks to represent the Regiment 
at a Thanksgiving Service in Mons. Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, D.S.O., 
M l'.. Major C. B. Price, D.C.M., Capt. D. MacRitchie, and other 
officers of the unit attended a “ Tc Deum ” Service in Quaregnon 
Parish Church. 

Parading at 7.45 o’clock on the bright and frosty morning of 
November lMth. the Battalion marched north through Ghlin, Erbisoeul, 
and Jurbise to Lens, turning east at this point and marching to 
Mont ignies-lez- Lens, where it halted for lunch. Snow and rain fell 
during the afternoon, but the Battalion had now passed beyond the 
industrial section of Belgium and traffic on the roads had decreased, 
with the result that the day’s march of 27 kilometres to Hubermont 
and Ncufvilles was completed at 3.30 p.m. Along the entire route 
farmers and villagers extended a warm welcome, and several towns 
had erected " triumphal ’’ arches. These tottered in some instances, 



1918 



OVER THE GERMAN BORDER 



269 



but none fell, much to the relief of the troops who, having survived 
the war, were averse to becoming casualties of peace. 

After two quiet days at Hubermont and Neufvilles, the Battalion, 
on November 21st. marched 8Yo kilometres to Braine le Comte, pass- 
ing through the town of Soignies en route. At Braine le Comte the 
unit spent November 22nd and 23rd, the former date marked by a 
visit to a local paper mill, where the men bathed; and the latter by a 
pleasant interview between officers and the town mayor, who was 
reluctant to sign billeting claims on the ground that Canadians had 
helped to free Belgium and were welcome to whatever hospitality 
true Belgians could offer. Though appreciating this friendly attitude, 
the officers stated that the Government could not allow the loyal popu- 
lation of Belgium to suffer financial loss from the presence of British 
troops. Still protesting, the mayor thereupon signed the warrants, 
amid assurances of mutual esteem. 

Moonlight prevailed at 6 o’clock on the morning of November 24th 
when the Royal Montreal Regiment started a 25 ^4-kilometre march. 
Passing through Ronquieres, the unit proceeded to Nivelles, halting 
at this point for half an hour and then marching, by way of Thines, 
Vieux Genappe, and Genappe, to Ways, which was reached at 1.30 
p.m. From Ways a number of officers visited the historic battle- 
fields of Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Not far from these sites, forever 
famous, lay parks of surrendered German aeroplanes, motor lorries, 
and guns, demonstrating that the victorious spirit of the nineteenth 
century survived in the twentieth century British Army. 

Continuing the march at 12.30 p.m. on November 25th, the Bat- 
talion passed through Mellery, Gentinnes, and St. Gery, and reached 
Cortil Noirmont at half-past four, averaging exactly 4 kilometres an 
hour. In billets at Cortil Noirmont the unit rested on November 26th, 
the day being uneventful, except for parades at which the men received 
pay sufficient to purchase Christmas gifts for home. Rain on the 
following day muddied the roads, despite which the Battalion marched 
24 kilometres without any straggling. Starting at 8.45 a.m., the unit 
passed through Gembloux and Louzee, halted near St. Denis for lunch, 
then pushed on through Meux and Dhuy to Leuze, where billets were 
occupied for the night. 

1 hroughout the march up to this time commissariat arrangements 
had been beyond criticism, and full rations had been served to the 
troops at every meal. On the 28th, however, owing to quite insuper- 
able difficulties, the supply organization failed for the first time, with 
the result that the Royal Montrealers marched breakfastless from 



270 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



Leuze, through Tillier and Hingeon, to Petit Warret, a distance of 
14 kilometres. At Petit Warret, Lieuts. N. B. Cohen, J. G. Vallerand, 
F. MacKay, and L. Barrette, who had joined on November 25th, 
were posted for duty with the companies. 

Orders were issued for continuation of the march on November 
29th, but at 8 a.m. these were cancelled and the battalions of the 3rd 
Brigade instructed to stand fast, until ration supply could be assured. 
At 8.30 a.m. the 14th and 15th Battalions were inspected by Brig.- 
General G. S. Tuxford, who read aloud a message addressed to the 
Corps by Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Currie. In part, this memorable 
Special Order said : — “ In a few days you will enter Germany and hold 
certain parts, in order to secure the fulfilment of the terms of the 
armistice In Belgium “ You will be received everywhere as 

liberators, but the kindness and generosity of the population must 
not cause any relaxation of your discipline or alertness. Your task 
is not completed, and you must remain what you are — a close-knitted 
army in grim, deadly earnest. German agents scattered throughout 
the country must not be able to report . . . any weakness or evi- 
dence of disintegration of your fighting power. It is essential that 
on the march and at the halt discipline must be of the highest standard. 
. . . All external signs of discipline must be insisted upon . . . 
clothing and equipment must be, if possible, spotless, well-kept and 
well put on. Badges and distinguishing marks must be complete, 
while the transport should be as clean as the circumstances will allow. 
In short, you must continue to be, and appear to be, that powerful 
hitting force which has won the fear and respect of your foes and the 
admiration of the world ”. Concluding his message with instructions 
regarding conduct on German soil, General Currie said: — “ You know 
that self-imposed, stern discipline has made you the hardest, most 
successful and cleanest fighters of this war. ... I trust you, and 
the people at home trust you, while the memory of your dead comrades 
demands of you, to bring back that glorious record, pure and unsullied, 
to Canada ”. 

Facing a 20-kilometre march on November 30th, the 14th Battalion 
paraded at 8 a.m. and moved off, by way of Landenne and Tramaka, 
to Andenne, where the unit crossed the River Meuse. Before entering 
Andennc the 14th halted to permit troops in the town to move for- 
ward, but, owing to misunderstanding, this did not take place and the 
Royal Montreal Regiment was ordered to leap-frog instead. From 
Andenne the route led along the right bank of the Meuse to Gives, 
thence southeast through scattered hamlets to Belle Maison, where 



1918 



OVER THE GERMAN BORDER 



271 



billets were occupied at 2.30 p.m. Owing to the hilly country traversed 
on this date, the men’s packs were transported in lorries. 

As a result of further difficulty with rations, the Battalion rested 
at Belle Maison on December 1st, many officers and men attending 
a service of thanksgiving in the local Roman Catholic Church. At 
9.50 a.m. on December 2nd the unit left Belle Maison and marched 
up the wild gorge of a little river, known as Le Hoyoux. After lunch- 
ing near Modave, the Royal Montrealers left the valley of Le Hoyoux 
and proceeded through rolling, wooded country to Bonsin, completing 
the day’s march of 20 1 4 kilometres at 4.20 o’clock in the afternoon. 

On December 3rd, at Bonsin, announcement was made of honours 
gained by the 14th at the Canal du Nord. On this list appeared the 
names of Capt. B. T. Jackson, awarded a Bar to the Military Cross; 
and of Acting Captain A. T. Howell, Lieuts. C. E. Tuttle, A. Close, 
D.C.M., D. Woodward, and H. Campbell, M.M., who received the 
Military Cross. Greatly to the regret of the Regiment, Lieut. A. 
Close, after winning recommendation for award, had fallen in action 
during the fighting on October 1st. In addition to officers’ decorations, 
the honours list contained recognition of splendid work by other ranks, 
Acting Coy. Sergt. -Major J. H. Foley being awarded a Bar to the 
D.C.M., and the Distinguished Conduct Medal being granted to 
Sergts. F. Burke, M.M., and J. Driscoll, M.M., to Lance-Corp. C. W. 
McCall, and to Privates C. Blakeman and C. V. Tuttle. 

Following one day of rest at Bonsin, the Battalion paraded at 7 
o’clock on the morning of December 4th and marched 4214 kilometres 
to Bra. The weather was bad, the roads ankle deep in mud, and the 
route of an up hill and down dale nature, but the men faced the long 
tramp as a test of their mettle, and reached Bra at 6.45 p.m. Between 
Bonsin and Bra the route led through the villages and small towns of 
Ocquier, Amas, Oneux, Tohogne, Bomal, Izier, Burnontige, Cherhal, 
Werboment, and Trou de Bra. At Izier, where the unit lunched, the 
men were given a ration of rum, which prevented chills and helped 
them to ignore the discomfort of soaking clothes. A similar issue 
when the unit reached Bra provided stimulation after the exhausting 
12-hour march. 

On December 5th the Regiment rested at Bra, but on the follow- 
ing day, in full marching order, it moved to Neuville, a distance of 
19 kilometres, the Battalion Transport proceeding 2 kilometres fur- 
ther to Burtonville. The weather on this occasion was fair and the 
unit, marching at its best, presented a fine sight as it swung through 
Hierlot, Odrimont, Arbrefontaine, and Goronne. The German border 



272 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



now lay immediately ahead and all ranks were pleased at the thought 
of treading enemy soil. In preparation for this, the evening of 
December 6th was devoted to repair and polish of equipment, which 
had suffered on the march. 

At 7.40 o’clock on the morning of December 7th, the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, paraded in Neuville and marched for the 
Border. Passing through Burtonville and Petit Thier, the unit reached 
Poteau at 10.25 a. in. and there marched from Belgium into Germany. 
Remembering those who had borne the heat and burden of the day, 
but had not lived to see Germany beaten, the men of the 14th, pre- 
senting evidence of that grim, hard-hitting efficiency which had been 
enhanced by the long march through Belgium, were played over the 
border by the Battalion brass band to the tune of “ The Maple Leaf 
Forever ”. 

Once across the border, the Battalion marched through marshy, 
wooded, and apparently not very prosperous country, to billets in the 
villages of Deidenberg, Montenau, Iveldingen, and Eibertingen. Dur- 
ing the march children stared curiously, and shutters, opening and 
closing in the windows of many houses, indicated that the adult com- 
munity, though absent from the streets, was deeply interested and 
concerned. No welcome was expected and none was hypocritically 
extended; on the other hand, no hostility was displayed and no 
unpleasant incidents occurred. Except for lack of flags and greetings, 
the first march of the Royal Montreal Regiment on German soil 
differed in no essential from those in France or Belgium. 

Proceeding on December 8th. the Battalion marched 16 kilometres, 
via Amel, Mirfeld and Bullingen, to Murringen and Hunningen, where 
billets were occupied for the night. On the whole the country traversed 
was uninteresting, the roads being muddy, the few houses poor in 
appearance, and the district presenting an air of ill-kempt poverty. 
Sullenness marked the attitude of inhabitants in the villages where 
the 14th billeted, but, as on the previous day, little hostility was openly 
displayed, though difficulty was experienced at a few billets and sev- 
eral civilians had called to their attention a “ hats off ” order, which 
they seemed anxious to ignore. 

Parading at 7 a.m. on December 9th, the Battalion marched 
through mountainous and wooded country to Sistig. a distance of 31 Yo 
kilometres. Leaving Murringen and Hunningen, the route led through 
Hollerath, Hellentliai, Kirschselffen, Blumenthal, and Reifferscheld, 
the first 15 kilometres through almost unbroken forest and the last 
lap over hills, with valleys and attractive scenery between. At 



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Sistig the inhabitants adopted a friendly attitude and professed dis- 
like of the old German regime. Whether this attitude was sincere, or 
merely judged expedient, the Royal Montrealers had no time to 
ascertain. 

Continuing the march at 8 a.m. on December 10th, the Battalion 
proceeded to Euenheim, covering the distance of 27 V 2 kilometres, 
including stops, in exactly 8 hours. The route on this occasion led 
through settled country and included the towns of Sotenich, Kommem, 
and Wisskirchen. Many factories were passed and at Euenheim the 
men discovered a munition plant still turning out cases for shells. 
Another feature of the day’s march was provided by passenger trains, 
running on regular schedules. After seeing the destruction wrought 
on the railways of Belgium, these trains in the country of the defeated 
enemy provided a subject for concentrated thought. In the week 
ending when the Battalion reached Euenheim, the unit marched on 
six days out of seven, and covered 158 kilometres of road. A little 
weary, but with spirits quite unsubdued, the men received the 
announcement that the unit would march again on the morrow. 

Minus No. 7 Platoon, which was quarantined owing to a case of 
diphtheria, the Battalion, on December 11th, marched from Euenheim 
to Briihl, a distance of 25 kilometres. Rain fell, but roads were good, 
and the men were interested by approach to the valley of the Rhine. 
At Briihl the Battalion reached a point but 5 kilometres west of the 
River and approximately 10 kilometres from Cologne. Resting over- 
night at Briihl, the unit marched 12 % kilometres on the following 
morning to the outskirts of Cologne, where Battalion Headquarters 
and the companies were accommodated on the west bank of the Rhine 
in dwellings of no little magnificence. Here it was announced that 
the Battalion, on the morrow, would head the column which was to 
cross the Rhine at Cologne. 

With every button shining and with equipment in faultless order, 
the 14th Battalion paraded at 8.05 a.m. on December 13th and marched 
around the western part of Cologne to its appointed place at the head 
of the 1st Canadian Division, which was about to cross the Rhine. 
Rain fell, but failed to detract from a military spectacle which will 
remain vivid to onlookers and participants so long as life shall endure. 
When the command to march was given, Major-General A. C. Mac- 
donell, G.O.C. the Division, rode with a mounted escort through Cologne, 
followed by the 3rd Brigade, marching with fixed bayonets. Passing 
Cologne Cathedral, Lieut.-Col. Worrall, at 9.25 a.m., led the Royal 
Montreal Regiment onto the “ New Bridge ”, across which the unit 



274 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1918 



marched to the tune of “ Rule, Britannia ”, played by the Battalion 
band. At the eastern side of the bridge, Major-General Macdonell 
took the Division’s salute. By his side stood Brig.-General Tuxford, 
of the 3rd Brigade, and in the background hovered a few civilians. 
Bitter to the latter was sight of the proud Division when compared 
with shattered German units which had retreated across the Rhine 
not long before. 

A hen the river had been crossed the Battalion unfixed bayonets 
and proceeded, by way of Ostheim and Heumar, to Rath, where it 
halted for lunch. Resuming the move in the early afternoon, the unit 
passed through Rosrath and reached Volberg at 3.45 o’clock, com- 
pleting a march of 25 kilometres in all. Being the advanced unit of 
the Brigade Group, the 14th Battalion detached No. 4 Coy. for out- 
post duty, with instructions to connect up with the 29th (Imperial) 
Division on the left and the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade on the 
right. When this had been effected, the Battalion settled down for 
its first night in territory east of the Rhine. Not inappropriately, 
the occasion was marked by announcement that, for gallant leader- 
ship in the Canal du Nord operations, Major C. B. Price, D.C.M., 
Second-in-Command of the Regiment, had been awarded the D.S.O. 
A Bar to the D.C.M. was simultaneously granted to Sergt H. Weeks. 

Accompanied by No. 7 Platoon, released from quarantine, the 
Battalion, on December 14th, marched 5V-> kilometres from Volberg 
to Unter Eschbach, where the unit was ordered to stand fast. Taking 
it that the march into German territory had started at Fenain on 
November 13th, and had been completed when the Battalion billeted 
in Unter Eschbach, a survey of the whole operation is interesting. 
In 32 days the Regiment had covered 436 kilometres of road, or an 
average of just over RU/a kilometres a day. Eleven days, however, 
had been spent at rest, therefore the unit had marched on 21 days 
and had averaged just under 21 kilometres a march. For nine days 
previous to reaching Unter Eschbach the Regiment had halted over 
night only. The longest march was 42Vo kilometres between Bonsin 
and Bra, and the shortest move was that just completed between 
Volberg and Unter Eschbach. With the exception of three days, when 
motor lorries had been available, the men had carried full equipment, 
including packs. All kit had stood the strain well, though boots were 
badly worn when the march was completed. With the exception of 
a case of diphtheria in No. 7 Platoon, the health of the men had left 
nothing to be desired. The ration strength of the unit, far from 
decreasing, had increased, through return of casualties, from 805 to 



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823. Considering these facts, Lieut.-Col. Worrall had reason to feel 
that in the march to the Rhine the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 
Regiment, had upheld the reputation gained on the field of battle. 
In obedience to the Colonel’s orders, all officers of the Battalion, 
including those usually mounted, had accomplished the march on foot. 

II 

On December 16th, 1918, the Battalion was informed by 3rd Bri- 
gade that the area it occupied was to be considered as the main line 
of Canadian resistance and, accordingly, parties of officers and N.C.O’s. 
were sent out to select positions for defence in the event of attack on 
the outpost line. Further reconnaissance took place on the 17th of 
the month and a plan of action was arranged. Little incident marked 
the next three days, but on December 21st the Commanding Officer’s 
explanation of the Canadian Government’s demobilization and dis- 
persal scheme aroused intense interest. On the following day Protes- 
tant soldiers of the Battalion attended Divine Service in the church 
at Hoffnungsthal, and Roman Catholics attended a celebration of 
Mass at Altenbruck. In the church at Altenbruck, Mass was also 
celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve. 

Snow fell heavily during the night of December 24th, with the 
result that when reveille wakened the Royal Montrealers on Christmas 
morn the scene bore all the earmarks of Canadian winter. Turkeys, 
promised for dinner, failed to arrive, but the Battalion cooks exer- 
cised the utmost skill and produced a meal which all declared excel- 
lent. Nos. 1 and 4 Companies dined together, as did the Headquarters 
Cov. and No. 2 Coy., but No. 3 Coy. held its dinner alone. Beer, rum 
punch, dates, apples, figs, and oranges were supplied to the men for 
dessert, and the tables were waited on by officers and senior N.C.O’s. 
Lieut.-Col. Worrall visited each party and was everywhere received 
with cheers, the men being proud of the fact that he had left Canada 
in the ranks of the Battalion and risen through devoted service to 
command. At each dinner, in acknowledgment of the greeting, he 
expressed deep satisfaction in commanding such a Regiment. 

At 6 p.m. the sergeants inaugurated their mess with a dinner which 
will live long in the memory of all privileged to attend, and at 8 
o’clock the officers dined in a hall about a mile from billets. Prepara- 
tion for this event had been placed in the hands of Capt. J. E. 
McKenna, M.C., who achieved a great success. During dinner the 
Battalion band played, and from a tree each guest received a gift 



276 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1919 



hearing some relation to recent behaviour, or personal idiosyncrasy. 
The first toast was, of course, “ The King ”, which all drank with tradi- 
tional ceremony. Capt. McKenna then proposed “ The Commanding 
Officer ”, which evoked prolonged cheers. The third and last toast of 
the evening, “ Absent Comrades ”, was proposed by Major C. B. 
Price, and honoured in impressive silence. 

In view of the splendid and joyous celebrations held on Christmas, 
the laconic entry of the Battalion Diary on December 26th, “ No 
parades were held ”, provokes a smile. Training was resumed on the 
following day and continued until December 31st, varied for a num- 
ber of men by permits for sightseeing bus rides to Bonn, and for 
others by a less romantic train trip to baths at Deutz. On December 
31st No. 1 Coy. paraded to answer demobilization questions, this 
trifling incident, so far as the Battalion was concerned, marking the 
end of a momentous year in British history. 

January 1st, 1919, was distinguished in the Royal Montreal Regi- 
ment by no departure from routine, though the men appreciated the 
action of Headquarters in arranging that the whole Battalion should 
be paid. On the following day Capt. A. H. Murphy, who had been 
appointed Battalion Educational Officer, arranged classes to help 
those men who in civilian life might be handicapped by defects in 
elementary education. Classes were also arranged for those whose 
pre-war occupations had proved unsatisfactory and who were anxious 
to qualify for more attractive posts. On January 3rd all men of the 
unit entrained at Unter Eschbach and proceeded to the Kaiser Wil- 
helm Baths at Deutz, this wholesale bathing being in preparation for 
presentation of colours to the Regiment on January 4th. These colours, 
brought from England by Capt. G. V. Whitehead and Capt. II. G. 
Brewer, M.C., were donated by Mrs. E. A. Whitehead, of Montreal, 
whose sons, Capts. E. A. Whitehead and G. V. Whitehead, had served 
in the Regiment, the former having laid down his life in the fighting 
on June 3rd, 1916. 

In beautiful weather the Battalion paraded at Unter Eschbach at 
1 p.m. on January 4th and, forming up on three sides of a square, 
awaited H.R.H. Prince Arthur of Connaught. The occasion was 
memorable, as, for the first time in the history of the British Army, 
a prince of the Royal House of Windsor was to present colours on 
(he soil of a conquered enemy. 

Arriving punctually at 2 p.m., Prince Arthur of Connaught, who 
was accompanied by Major-General Sir A. C. Macdonell and Briga- 
dier-General G. S. Tuxford, received a royal salute, following which 




NTKIi KSCIIHACII, (jKKMANY 




1919 



OVER THE GERMAN BORDER 



277 



Hon. Major A. H. Creegan consecrated the new colours. When the 
religious ceremony ended, Major C. B. Price handed the King’s colour 
to Prince Arthur, who presented it to the Regiment, personified by 
Lieut. C. H. Sullivan on bended knee. The Regimental colour was 
then handed to the Prince by Capt. J. E. McKenna and presented by 
the former to Lieut. A. D. C. Parnell. 

Closing ranks, the men of the Battalion then “ stood easy ” for 
the speech which, according to custom, Prince Arthur was to deliver. 
After mentioning that the occasion was unique in the history of the 
Army, His Royal Highness expressed on behalf of the Imperial troops 
warm friendship for the soldiers from overseas. He then spoke of his 
pride in presenting colours to a Regiment such as the 14th and assured 
the men that if they displayed in civilian life the same qualities as 
in the campaign, then Canada would not lack capable leadership. In 
conclusion, Prince Arthur demanded three cheers for His Majesty 
the King. 

When the mighty shout for the King died away, Major-General 
Sir A. C. Macdonell called, “ Three cheers for His Royal Highness 
Prince Arthur of Connaught ”, and once again German soil vibrated 
to a great roar of cheers. Following the cheers, the Battalion dressed 
back and gave the colours a “ General Salute ”. The Colour Party 
wheeled and took position in the ranks, while the band played “ God 
Save the King ” in slow time. By happy coincidence, the wind fresh- 
ened at this moment and the beautiful flags streamed out gloriously 
in the bright winter sunshine. Realizing the colours’ significance and 
remembering the dead who had helped to win them, the men of the 
Royal Montreal Regiment saluted with deep feeling and then marched 
past the Prince with the colours in their midst. Appropriately, the 
impressive ceremony marked the conclusion of the Battalion’s stay 
in Germany. The Rhine bridgeheads were taken over by Imperial 
troops and the Corps’ garrison duty ended. 



CHAPTER XXIV 



HUY, BRAMSHOTT AND MONTREAL 



I said unto myself, “ My way is barred ; 

The cliff is high, and grim, and tempest-scarred.” 

Yet step by step I mounted it, till, lo, 

I felt the free air on the summit blow. 

— Arthur Chamberlain. 



I 

P ARADING in l nter Eschbach, Germany, at 2 o’clock on the 
afternoon of January 5th, 1919, the 14th Battalion, Royal Mont- 
real Regiment, marched to Hoffnungsthal railway station and 
there entrained for Huy, in Belgium. Leaving Hoffnungsthal at 4.30 
pm., the train ran back over the Rhine and, while the men slept, over 
the Belgo-German border. At 10.30 a.m. it reached Huy, on the 
River Meuse, between Liege and Namur, where the men detrained. 
After breakfast at the station, the unit marched to a barracks which 
became its home for two months. Simultaneously, the officers found 
billets in the houses of the town. 

Throughout the remainder of January time was devoted to routine 
training, sports, and educational classes, the last, through courtesy of 
local authorities, held in the buildings of Huy College. Soon after 
arrival Major II. A. IL Gagnon and Lieuts. J. G. Vallerand, N. B. 
Cohen, Francis MacKay, Maurice MacKay, and L. Barrette, all 
supernumeraries, were struck off strength and permitted to return to 
England. On January 17th Lieuts. D. Woodward, M.C., and H. H. 
Robinson, M.C., who had recovered from wounds, reported for duty 
and were assigned to their respective companies. 

On January 19th the Battalion was inspected by the Commanding 
Officer, following which Protestants marched to Divine Service at the 
Kursaal Theatre and Roman Catholics to Mass in the Collegiate 
Church of Notre Dame. Pay parades were held on the 20th, and on 
the 21st all dismounted officers took part in a sharp walk between 
7.30 and 8 a.m. This became daily routine, as the officers found 
exercise essential to offset the softening influence of life in billets. 
Mounted officers rode from 7.30 to 9 a.m. for the same purpose. 

Following three hours of Battalion drill on January 21st, and 
bathing parades on the 22nd. the men, on the evening of the 23rd, 



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HUY TO MONTREAL 



279 



marched to the Theatre d’Union, where the 1st Divisional Concert 
Party provided entertainment. The concert parties had been good 
throughout the war; during the winter of 1919 they reached a height 
of efficiency seldom surpassed on the professional stage. By entertain- 
ing the troops in the evenings, they accomplished work worthy of 
wide recognition. The “ show ” on the night of January 23rd, in the 
opinion of the 14th Diarist, was “ very good ”, a judgment in which 
all ranks shared. 

As January closed, interest was aroused by announcement that a 
composite company of 100 other ranks, under Major J. E. McKenna, 
M.C., would proceed to Liege in February to represent the Regiment 
in a review of the Division before Lieut. -Gen. Jacques, K.C.M.G., of 
the Belgian Army. On January 31st Brig.-General G. S. Tuxford 
inspected the Composite Company, which entrained for Liege at 8.30 
a.m. on February 3rd. With colours flying, the company, on February 
4th, headed the march past of a battalion made up from units of the 
3rd Brigade. To the gratification of Major McKenna and his men, 
the company was singled out for commendation. 

Having achieved distinction at Liege, Major McKenna was ordered 
to maintain his party and train for further ceremonial. On February 
12th Lieut. -General Orth, K.C.M.G., Chief of the Belgian Mission at 
British G.H.Q., visited Huy and presented Belgian decorations to men 
of the Canadian Corps. On this occasion Major C. B. Price, D.S.O.. 
D.C.M., commanded the battalion formed from the 3rd Brigade, 
including the company of the 14th. All units of the Corps were at 
their best and were complimented by General Orth on their soldierly 
bearing. 

One week after the parade before General Orth, the 3rd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade was inspected by General Sir H. S. Rawlinson, Bt., 
G.C.V.O., K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commanding the Fourth British Army. 
General Rawlinson expressed satisfaction with the work and appear- 
ance of the Brigade, adding that the bearing and swing of the Royal 
Montreal Regiment had particularly impressed him. 

On February 22nd a first demobilization step was taken when 
some married men returned to England to accompany dependents 
back to Canada. Following departure of this draft, the Regiment 
welcomed Lieut. H. Campbell, M.C., M.M., who had been wounded 
and taken prisoner in the fighting on October 1st, 1918. Recovered 
from his wounds, and released from captivity by the armistice, Lieut. 
Campbell had expressed a desire to serve again with his old Battalion, 



280 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1919 



and had been sent from England with orders to report at Huy. Lieut. 
J. H. Foley also reported at Huy and was assigned to duty. 

On February 27th, Lieut. -Col. Dick Worrall, D.S.O., M.C., several 
officers of the Battalion, and a large number of other ranks attended 
the funeral of No. 140129, Lance-Corp. J. McDonald, of the Trans- 
port Section, who had died of influenza in No. 50 Casualty Clearing 
Station, and was buried in the Huy Military Cemetery. Regret was 
felt at the death of this non-commissioned officer, who had rendered 
faithful service and, together with all ranks of the unit, had antici- 
pated return to Canada in a few weeks’ time. Many other members 
of the Regiment were attacked by virulent influenza and pneumonia 
at this time, but all finally recovered. 

With the advent of March, 1919, plans for demobilization of the 
Brigade assumed definite shape. On March 1st the four battalions 
paraded at AVanze for Brig. -General Tuxford’s valedictory. After 
referring to the long period of his command and to the work which 
(he Brigade had accomplished, also to the splendid soldiers whose 
graves marked the path of victory, Brig.-General Tuxford bade the 
Brigade farewell and its personnel good luck in the civilian life which 
lay ahead. 

At one time or another during the next three days all men of the 
14th Battalion bathed in preparation for a move to the base, and 
several small parties, who wished to be demobilized elsewhere than in 
Montreal, were transferred to special dispersal groups. Among the 
parties detached in this way were the following: — 

For Charlottetown, P.E.I. - 11 other ranks. 

For Quebec, P.Q. 51 other ranks. 

For Halifax, N.S. - 7 other ranks. 

For St. John, N.B. - - - 9 other ranks. 

For Moncton, N.B. - - - 8 other ranks. 

Lieut. L. B. Butler was transferred to command the party for Quebec. 



II 

At 7.30 o’clock on the morning of March 5th, 1919, the 14th Bat- 
talion, Royal Montreal Regiment, now attached to the “First Divi- 
sional Demobilization Group No. 8 ”, marched to Huy railway station 
and there entrained in box cars for le Havre. A special Y.M.C.A. 
canteen car distinguished the train from the ordinary troop transfer, 
and provided the men with acceptable variations to the daily fare. 
During entrainment the Divisional Commander visited the station to 
wish all ranks a safe journey. 



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HUY TO MONTREAL 



281 



At 11 a.m. the train left Huy, passing through Namur at 1.50 in 
the afternoon and reaching Charleroi, where a halt was made for tea, 
at 5.15. Leaving at 8 p.m., the train proceeded to Mons, where it 
halted between 1.30 and 3.15 on the morning of March 6th, and then 
moved onwards to Douai, which was reached at 12.55 p.m. At all 
points en route the men were impressed by the extreme efficiency of 
all commissariat and supply arrangements. Between Douai and Arras 
the train passed through the devastated area of France, the scenes 
recalling to the Royal Montrealers many of their own adventures and 
experiences. The men found it strange to view the fields of battle 
from a train and, after the calm of the winter in Germany and Huy, 
the torn and shell-swept fighting zone aroused deep feeling. 

Proceeding through Tinques, the scene of the Corps Sports on July 
1st, 1918, the train reached Doullens and continued to Romescamps, 
whence it headed for le Havre. Detraining at le Havre at 2.45 p.m. 
on March 7th, the Royal Montreal Regiment marched to the Cana- 
dian Embarkation Camp and occupied billets until arrangements 
could be made for crossing to England. Accommodation at the 
Embarkation Camp was good, rations were excellent, and amusements 
varied. Conditions reflected credit on the camp personnel, neverthe- 
less the troops, after a week of the camp life, were delighted by 
announcement that the Battalion would cross the Channel without 
further delay. 

Parading at 1 p.m. on March 14th, the Regiment marched to the 
docks, and at 3 p.m. embarked on the S.S. Queen Alexandra, with a 
strength of 30 officers and 653 men. Sailing in fine weather at 4.20 
p.m. (French time), the Queen Alexandra crossed the Channel with- 
out incident and dropped anchor off Weymouth at 11 p.m. (English 
time). In the morning the men were early astir and at 9 a.m. the 
Regiment, for the first time in over four years, set foot on the soil of 
England. Following a hot meal and distribution of bags containing 
a substantial cold meal, the Battalion entrained at 11 a.m. and pro- 
ceeded to Liphook, arriving at 3 p.m. and marching immediately to 
“ D ” Wing, in the south section of Bramshott Camp. The Battalion 
Diary records that from the time of landing in WTymouth until the 
settling down in Bramshott, the Regiment was expeditiously handled, 
with every regard for the men’s comfort, and in a manner to justify 
praise of those in control. 

Between March 15th and 20th time of officers and men was spent 
in preparation of documents, or in medical and dental examinations, 
required previous to demobilization. On the 18th pay parades were 



282 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1919 



held, each man receiving a minimum of £5, and soon thereafter leave 
to London, or elsewhere in the British Isles, began. On the 20th of 
the month 1(1 officers and 457 other ranks boarded a special train 
which left for London at 12.25 p.m.; on the 21st 2 officers and 75 
other ranks followed; these being followed in turn by 2 officers and 
(13 other ranks on the 22nd, and 5 officers and 25 other ranks on the 
24th. With the departure of the last group, “ on duty ” strength of 
the Battalion was reduced to 1 officer and 3 other ranks, though 18 
other ranks, for personal reasons, refused leave and remained in camp. 
On the night of the 24th a few other ranks, who had spent their pay, 
reported and were placed on duty, the strength of the Battalion 
increasing each day thereafter until at the end of the month it was 
back to normal. In view of a warning order that the Battalion would 
sail on the <S.>S. Belgic on April 15th, all requests for extension of leave 
were refused after March 25th. 

On March 27th His Majesty the King held an investiture at 
Buckingham Palace, and commanded attendance of a number of offi- 
cers of the Royal Montreal Regiment, to receive honours won in the 
field. At this investiture Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, D.S.O., M.C., 
received a Bar to his Military Cross and the insignia of the Distin- 
guished Service Order, with Bar; Major C. B. Price. D.S.O., D.C.M., 
received the Distinguished Service Order; Capt. H. G. Brewer, M.C., 
received the Military Cross and Bar, as did Lieut. J. W. Green, M.C., 
D.C.M.; Lieuts. H. H. Robinson, D. Woodward, and S. J. McEwen 
received the Military Cross. At a second investiture held by His 
Majesty in Buckingham Palace on March 29th, Major J. E. McKenna, 
Capt. A. T. Howell, and Lieut. B. A. Neville received the Military 
Cross. 

On March 28th, 1st Canadian Division notified 14th Battalion 
that the unit would sail on the S.S. Carmarda instead of on the Belgic, 
and that sailing had been postponed several days. The men were 
disappointed, but there was no help for it, and in any case time avail- 
able for embarkation and demobilization documents was none too 
long. The last days of March and the early days of April were given 
to work on documents, with just sufficient training to keep the men fit. 

On April 4th the Battalion was notified that sailing of the 
Carmania was scheduled for April 10th, and documentation was 
accordingly expedited. On the 5th of the month the Battalion bathed 
at the Area Baths and received clean underclothing. The 7th was 
marked by a visit on the part of Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Currie, 
G.C.M.G., K.C.B., and Major-General Sir A. C. Macdonell, K.C.B., 



1919 



HUY TO MONTREAL 



283 



C.M.G., D.S.O., who called at the Officers’ Mess and afterwards 
chatted informally with a number of the men. 

On April 9th orders for embarkation were received and at 11.30 
o’clock that night the unit entrained for Liverpool. Breakfast was 
served at Crewe at 8.20 a.m. on April 10th and approximately two 
hours later the Battalion boarded the Carviania, which also carried 
the 5th, 7th, 10th, and 13th Battalions. At the dock to bid the troops 
farewell were Major-General Sir A. C. Macdonell, to whose famous 
“ Red Patch ” Division all the battalions belonged, and Brig.-General 
G. S. Tuxford, who for three years had commanded the 3rd Brigade. 
Both officers, realizing that neither the Division nor the Brigade would 
ever assemble again, bade the battalions good-bye with deep emotion. 

Taken as a whole, the voyage was without incident. Sports occu- 
pied much time, and reading matter was distributed by the Y.M.C.A. 
A “ Final Order ” by the G.O.C. the 1st Division was distributed to 
the men, most of whom saved the pamphlet as a souvenir of stirring 
days and of the writer, who, by devotion to the interests of the men, 
had gained a high measure of affection and esteem. Throughout the 
voyage officers, non-commissioned officers, and clerks of the Battalion 
worked to complete documents, so that no tiresome delay in barracks 
in Montreal need ensue. Each man’s account was audited and closed 
by calculation of the exact sum that would be due him on arrival, and 
medical inspections were carried out where necessary. When Canada 
was sighted, therefore, the 14th Battalion stood ready for immediate 
demobilization. 

At 7 o’clock on the evening of April 18th, 1919, the Carmania 
docked at Halifax. The 13th Battalion disembarked first, the 14th 
following and entraining without delay. April 19th was spent en 
route and the morning of Easter Sunday, April 20th, was devoted to 
preparation for the march through the streets of Montreal. 

At 1.45 p.m. a whistle on the Angus Shops of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway warned Montreal that the 13th and 14th Battalion trains 
were approaching Place Viger Station. Soon all three trains drew 
alongside the platforms and Montreal’s original battalions had reached 
home. At the station the units were welcomed by a gathering of 
soldiers and civilians, including Major-General E. W. Wilson, G.O.C. 
the Montreal District, Brig.-Gen. W. O. H. Dodds, D.S.O., ex-Com- 
mander of the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery, Brig.-Gen. J. B. 
White, and Brig.-Gen. C. W. Smart. To the delight of veterans of 
the 14th, two ex-Commanding Officers of the unit, Lieut.-Cols. F. W. 
Fisher and Gault McCombe, D.S.O., were also present. 



284 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1919 



After greetings and ceremonial in the station, the two overseas 
battalions formed up, with escorts and bands from the 1st Regiment, 
Canadian Grenadier Guards, the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of 
Canada, the 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada, and the 
65th Regiment, Carabiniers de Mont-Royal, for a march to the Peel 
Street Barracks. Leaving Place Viger Station, the units proceeded 
along Craig Street to the Champ de Mars, where Major-General 
Wilson took the salute, thence, by way of St. James Street, Beaver 
Hall Hill, and St. Catherine Street, to the destination. Marching 
with steel helmets, with bayonets fixed, and colours flying, the 14th 
Battalion at all points received an ovation, diminished no whit in 
volume by the fact that to the 13th Battalion, marching ahead, the 
citizens had paid enthusiastic tribute. Both battalions shared in a 
demonstration in honour of the deeds wrought on the fields of France. 
At the head of the 14th Battalion marched Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, 
D.S.O., M.C., and at the rear was Major C. B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., 
Second-in-Command. These officers, when the Battalion left for Val- 
cartier in 1914, had marched in the ranks, the former in the detachment 
recruited by the Canadian Grenadier Guards and the latter in the 
section raised by the Victoria Rifles of Canada. Both, through effi- 
ciency, had risen step by step to the positions they now held. At the 
time of arrival in Montreal, No. 1 Coy. was under command of Major 
J. E. McKenna, M.C., No. 2 was commanded by Capt. G. V. White- 
head, No. 3 by Major H. G. Brewer, M.C., and No. 4 by Capt. A. H. 
Murphy. These officers had gained distinction in France and one, 
Alajor Brewer, had been promoted from the ranks of the original 
Battalion. 

At Peel Street, after passing under a huge banner marking “ The 
End of the Trail ”, the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 
entered the old High School Barracks to render a salute to the Regi- 
mental colours. The 14th Battalion, Royal Alontreal Regiment, com- 
pleted this impressive ceremony outside the barrack doors. The band 
played “ O Canada ”, the Colour Party advanced, and, amid silence, 
the Battalion saluted the colours presented on the soil of Germany. 
Following this ceremony, the men entered the barracks, where, in a 
soldierly speech, impressive to a degree by reason of its deep feeling, 
Lieut.-Col. Worrall bade his command farewell. Then, at his “ Dis- 
miss! ” the overseas unit broke ranks, never as such to reassemble. 

So ended the career of the 14th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary 
Force. Over 6,200 men passed through the ranks; 1,192 laid down 
their lives in action, or as the result of illness contracted on sendee; 




\ I IV< > >1 IV< >| I 



1919 



HUY TO MONTREAI 



285 



and 3,277 were wounded. When informed that a history of the Regi- 
ment was to be compiled, Major-General Sir A. C. Macdonell, K.C.B., 
C.M.G., D.S.O., G.O.C. the 1st Canadian Division, paid a tribute than 
which the Battalion could ask no higher. “ During the years of my 
command ”, he -wrote, “ they never failed me 



CHAPTER XXV 



REORGANIZATION 



Land of our birth, our faith, our pride, 

For whose dear sake our fathers died; 

0 motherland, we pledge to thee 

Head, heart, and hand through the years to be. 

— Rudyard Kipling. 



I 

A FTER the cessation of hostilities, and more particularly as the 
time for demobilization approached, officers of the 14th Bat- 
talion, Royal Montreal Regiment, considered earnestly the 
future of the unit, and viewed with apprehension the possibility that 
no place for the Regiment might be found in the establishment of the 
Canadian Militia. In 1914 the Regiment had been recruited by the 
1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier Guards, the 3rd Regiment, Victoria 
Rifles of Canada, and the 65th Regiment, Carabiniers de Mont-Royal. 
Subsequently these regiments sent overseas service battalions bearing 
their own names, and commanding in a large degree their support and 
interest. The 14th Battalion, owing to these circumstances, found 
itself without a parent regiment to whom it could entrust its colours 
and the safeguarding of traditions established on the battlefields of 
France. 

When demobilization took place, senior officers of the Battalion 
sought some means of preserving the Regiment from extinction. 
Through the good offices of Brig.-General F. S. Meighen, C.M.G., 
original Commanding Officer of the 14th, a meeting, to discuss the 
possibility of amalgamation, was arranged between Lieut.-Col. Dick 
Worrall on the one side, and Lieut.-Col. C. M. Strange, Commanding 
Officer of the Westmount Rifles, and John McKergow, Esquire, Hon- 
orary Colonel of that Regiment, on the other. Understanding the 
desire of the 14th to preserve the name under which it had served in 
France, the officers of the Westmount Rifles, following a series of 
conferences, generously agreed to amalgamation of the units, under 
the title “ Royal Montreal Regiment”. In appreciation of the sacri- 
fice made by the Westmount Rifles in abandoning their honoured 
name, and in recognition of worth, officers of the 14th Battalion 
cordially accepted appointment of Lieut.-Col. Strange to command 
the newly-formed unit. 



1920 



REORGANIZATION 



287 



While negotiations for amalgamation of the 14th and the West- 
mount Rifles were in progress, Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, following 
demobilization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, received an 
appointment on the Staff of Major-General E. W. Wilson, G.O.C. the 
Montreal Military District. Here his soldierly qualities proved of 
the utmost value until, in March, 1920, he contracted pneumonia and 
died in the Royal Victoria Hospital after a brief illness. It is no 
exaggeration to state that Lieut.-Col. Worrall ’s sudden death shocked 
Montreal and brought grief to hundreds of military comrades. As 
mentioned in this book, his had been a notable career. Previous to 
the war he served in the Dorsetshire Regiment and, following honour- 
able discharge, crossed to the United States, where eventually he 
enlisted in the American Army. When Britain declared war on 
Germany he was serving in an American unit, barracked on an island. 
The officer in command at this point joked at the turn of fate which 
prevented Worrall from serving his own country in her time of need. 
The Englishman, a trained soldier, knew better than to reply, but that 
night he and two British comrades slipped from the barracks and, 
evading sentries, swam ashore. Reaching land safely, Worrall and 
his companions “ jumped ” freight trains headed for Canada, the near- 
est spot where flew the flag under which they wished to serve. At a 
bridge crossing, Worrall ’s two companions were swept from the freight 
train and, presumably, killed, leaving the future Commanding Officer 
of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, to continue his 
adventurous journey alone. Something of his subsequent career has 
been set down in this book, but only those who witnessed the scene 
when he was laid to rest in Mount Royal Cemetery can appreciate 
the place he had gained in the esteem of Montreal and in the affec- 
tions of his fellow-soldiers. Snow fell gently as the gun carriage 
bearing his body, and the long procession of officers and men from all 
units in the district, marched slowly to a point on the eastern slopes 
of Mount Royal, where a party from the Royal Canadian Regiment 
fired three volleys, bugles sounded the “ Last Post ”, and mourners 
tendered their respectful farewell. From this point the body was 
conveyed to Mount Royal Cemetery and there quietly committed 
to earth. 

Feeling that as a result of Lieut.-Col. WorralPs death the Regi- 
ment was more than ever bound to preserve traditions which he had 
helped to establish, the Royal Montreal officers worked to raise the 
new Militia unit to a satisfactory state of strength and efficiency. In 
this task none served with more unselfish devotion than Lieut.-Col. 



288 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1920 



F. W. Fisher, original Commanding Officer of the Westmount Rifles, 
who had left that unit to command the 23rd Battalion of the Cana- 
dian Expeditionary Force and, during the heart-breaking winter 
months of 1915 and 1916, had commanded the 14th Battalion at 
Messines. For the ultimate success attending efforts to establish the 
old 14th on a peace basis, the Regiment gratefully acknowledges 
Lieut. -Col. Fisher’s large share of responsibility. 

When the Canadian Militia was reorganized in 1920, the combined 
14th Battalion and Westmount Rifles were given a place on the Militia 
List under the title “ The Royal Montreal Regiment ”, with Head- 
quarters at Westmount, P.Q. Two battalions were authorized, the 
first an “ active ” unit, and the second a “ reserve ” formation, with 
personnel to be called up only in the event of emergency, or national 
peril. Under this plan the Militia unit was composed as follows: — 

The Royal Montreal Regiment 

1st (Westmount) Battalion (14th Battalion, C.E.F.). 

2nd (Reserve) Battalion (23rd Battalion, C.E.F.). 

The General Order reorganizing the Militia stated that Command- 
ing Officers of units must have had overseas experience. In view of 
this, Lieut. -Col. Strange resigned as Commanding Officer of the Royal 
Montreal Regiment to permit appointment of a successor with the 
required active service qualifications. Momentarily, the task of fill- 
ing the position which Lieut.-Col. Strange had occupied so satisfac- 
torily presented difficulties. Brig. -General F. S. Meighen, C.M.G., the 
first C.O. of the 14th Battalion, was not available, as he had assumed 
command of his original unit, the 1st Regiment, Canadian Grenadier 
Guards. Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland, D.S.O., the second C.O. of the 
14th, had similarly taken over the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of 
Canada. Other obligations prevented acceptance of the post by Lieut.- 
Col. F. W. Fisher, or Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe, D.S.O. Owing to 
similar responsibilities, Lieut.-Col. R. W. Frost, one-time company 
commander in the 14th and subsequently Commanding Officer of the 
87th Battalion, Canadian Grenadier Guards, could not take the 
position. 

Though the inability of these senior officers to accept command of 
the Royal Montreal Regiment was regrettable, it left the position 
open to Major C. B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., who could rely on the 
support of many who had appreciated his loyal service in France and 
in the period following demobilization. Accepting the cohunand, Major 





Lt.-Col. C. B. PlUCE, I). so., D.C.M., 
July 1st, 1920— July 1st, 1924. 



Lt.-Col. .1 E. McKkxx y, m.c., 
July 1st, 1924. 



1920 



REORGANIZATION 



289 



Price was gazetted lieutenant-colonel, and selected his officers. On 
July 2nd, 1920, when the General Order establishing the Regiment on 
a peace footing was promulgated, officers had been chosen, and on 
August 3rd Battalion Orders No. 1 announced the following estab- 
lishment: — 



Officer Commanding 
Second-in-Command 
Adjutant - - - - 
Quartermaster - - 

Assistant Adjutant 
Director of Music - 
Signalling Officer 
Musketry Officer 



Lieut. -Col. C. B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M. 
Major J. H. Richardson. 

Capt. J. W. Green, M.C., D.C.M. 

Capt. W. B. Clark. 

Lieut. A. D. Brewer. 

Lieut. H. G. Jones. 

Lieut. A. F. Shaw, M.C. 

Capt. H. Armstrong. 

Lieut. (Bvt. Major) H. W. Tate. 



No. 1 Coy. — Major J. E. McKenna, M.C., Capt. D. MacRitchie, 
Lieut. C. H. Sullivan, Lieut. J. S. Brander, Lieut. J. A. C. Thatcher, 
Lieut. R. B. Henry, Lieut. E. Walton. 

No. 2 Coy. — Major G. V. Whitehead, Capt. N. M. Mowat, Lieut. 
J. E. Slessor, Lieut. B. R. Racey, M.M., Lieut. H. H. Whiteman, 
Lieut. M. E. Beckett, Lieut. C. P. R. Charlton, Lieut. G. D. C. Dobbin, 
Lieut. L. W. Taylor. 

No. 3 Coy.— Major H. G. Brewer, M.C., Capt. A. T. Howell, M.C., 
Lieut. C. C. Edged, Lieut. E. C. Renouf, Lieut. H. H. Campbell, M.C., 
M.M., Lieut. G. A. 0. Brown. 

No. 4 Coy. — Major R. H. Hood, Capt. T. A. Evans, Lieut. J. S. 
Brisbane, Lieut. P. K. Haldimand, Lieut. (Bvt. Capt.) C. L. O’Brien, 
Lieut. W. H. Harrison, Lieut. J. R. Norris. 

Once the new Regiment was officially authorized, recruiting and 
training began, a number of old 14th Battalion and Westmount Rifles 
men forming a nucleus around which the unit was slowly but steadily 
formed. Headquarters took over the Mess of the Westmount Rifles 
above a chemist’s shop at the corner of St. Catherine Street and 
Greene Avenue, and established an Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess. 
Training quarters were secured by leasing an old church on Stanley 
Street, which, during the war, had been used as a drill hall by the 
Irish-Canadian Rangers. In spite of the difficulty presented by separa- 
tion of H.Q. and training quarters, the spirit of the Regiment survived, 
with the result that when Major-General Sir Henry Burstall, Inspector- 



290 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1922 



General of the Forces, conducted a coast to coast inspection in 1922, 
he found the unit worthy of special commendation, an honour shared 
by not more than a dozen regiments throughout Canada. 

Previous to this, Brig.-General W. O. H. Dodds, C.M.G., D.S.O., 
accepted an invitation to become Honorary Colonel of the -Regiment. 
The choice of Brig.-General Dodds for this post of honour was happy, 
as he had been instrumental in organizing the Grenadier Guards com- 
pany of the 14th for active sendee and had assisted the combined 
companies by every means in his power. He then proceeded overseas 
with the field artillery of the First Contingent and became eventually 
G.O.C. the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery. Throughout the diffi- 
cult period of reorganization he placed his services at the disposal of 
the Regiment and assisted in dealing with many vexed problems. 
Through his generosity, and that of other friends, the Regiment was 
able to celebrate the King’s Birthday, 1922, in camp grounds at 
Carillon, loaned for the occasion by Brig.-General C. J. Armstrong, 
who had succeeded Major-General E. W. Wilson as G.O.C. the Mont- 
real Military District. This expedition, repeated in the years follow- 
ing, fostered esprit de corps and recalled to veterans days spent in the 
rest camps or reserve areas of France. 

When the Royal Montreal Regiment’s place on the Canadian 
Militia List had been assured, officers considered the question of 
affiliation with a unit of the Imperial Army. To strengthen the ties 
which bind Canada in loyalty to the Throne, such association seemed 
desirable to officers, who felt that affiliation with The Prince of Wales’s 
Own (West Yorkshire Regiment), the old 14th Foot of the British 
Army, would be singularly appropriate. Informal enquiry as to 
whether, or not, the West Yorkshire Regiment would welcome affilia- 
tion brought a cordial affirmative from the Commanding Officer. 
Accordingly, a formal request for affiliation was fyled and. with the 
approval of II is Majesty, King George V, granted. 

The Regiment with which the Royal Montreal Regiment thus 
became affiliated originated at the time of Monmouth’s Rebellion in 
1(585. Its first Commanding Officer was Col. Sir. Edward Halls, who, 
it is interesting to note, received a stipend of 12/ a day, while his 
second-in-command and adjutant were rewarded for their services at 
a rate corresponding closely to that paid a Canadian private in 1914, 
namely, 5/ a day. Following the Rebellion, the Regiment, under the 
name, “14th Regiment of Foot”, was established on a basis of 10 
companies of (50 men each. It fought in Scotland in 1(590-1, and in 



1922 



R EORGA N I ZATION 



291 



Flanders, against the French, in 1692. In 1704 it saw service at 
Gibraltar, and in 1766 it was sent to Halifax, where, under command 
of General the Hon. William Keppel, it remained for some years, 
leaving headquarters to participate in the scenes which heralded the 
revolution of the American colonies, and to fight in the Battle of 
Bunker Hill. Later it took part in operations in the West Indies 
and, still later, returned from the Old Country to garrison the Citadel 
at Quebec. A battalion of the Regiment fought at Corunna, and at 
Waterloo the 3rd Battalion, with 38 officers, 33 sergeants, and 548 
men, suffered a number of losses. The Regiment took part in the 
Crimean War and participated in the siege of Sevastopol. In 1881 
the Regiment, which for some years had been known as “ The 14th 
(Buckinghamshire) Prince of Wales’s Own ”, changed its designation 
and became “ The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regi- 
ment)”. In common with all County Regiments of the British Army, 
the unit rose to the need of England in August, 1914, battalion after 
battalion being sent on active service. The affiliation, therefore, was 
that of an old and a young regiment, the one with traditions of long 
standing, in which the other had demonstrated worthiness to share. 
Since affiliation, officers of both units have endeavoured to promote 
friendly feeling between the Regiments and to make of the associa- 
tion something more than a name. 

As time passed after 1920, it became clear that conditions under 
which the Royal Montreal Regiment was labouring would slowly kill 
esprit ,de corps, and that, to prevent disaster, better quarters were 
essential. Accordingly, under the leadership of the Honorary Colonel, 
Brig.-General W. 0. H. Dodds, D.S.O., and of the Commanding Offi- 
cer, Lieut. -Col. C. B. Price, D.S.O., D.C.M., a campaign to secure an 
armoury was begun. An “Armoury Association ” was formed, with 
Brig.-Gen. Dodds as President, Lieut. -Col. Fisher as Vice-President, 
Lieut. -Col. Price as Secretary, and other friends of the Regiment 
making up the personnel. After prolonged negotiations, the City of 
Westmount leased to the Armoury Association for 99 years, at a 
rental of $1.00 a year, land on St. Catherine Street, not far from 
Westmount Park. Simultaneously, the Sun Life Assurance Co. of 
Canada loaned to the Association a sum of $143,000, the Government 
of the Dominion of Canada agreeing to pay to the Armoury Associa- 
tion each year, as rent for the completed building, a sum sufficient to 
pay interest on the Sun Life Company’s loan, plus an amount for 
sinking fund purposes, sufficient to extinguish the principal of the 
loan in 20 years. The Armoury Association, meanwhile, agreed to 



292 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



1925 



raise $37,000, representing the difference between the total of the Sun 
Life loan and the estimated cost of the building. 

On completion of agreements between the Armoury Association, 
the City of Westmount, the Dominion Government, and the Sun Life 
Assurance Co., a contract for erection of the new building was drawn 
up, and on June 1st, 1925, the first sod was turned. The work prog- 
ressed favourably from that time, the completed building being turned 
over by the contractors in December. Meanwhile, Lieut. -Col. Price’s 
term as Commanding Officer had been completed and leadership of 
the unit had passed to Major J. E. McKenna, M.C., who received 
promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. 

On December 28th, 1925, the new building, which commemorated 
those who had died in France, was formally opened by the Hon. E. M. 
MacDonald, Canadian Minister of National Defence. Amongst those 
participating in the ceremony, in addition to ex-officers and officers 
on the active list of the Regiment, were Major-General J. H. Mae- 
Brien, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., Chief of Staff; Major-General E. C. 
Ashton, C.M.G., Quartermaster-General of the Canadian Forces; and 
Brig.-Gen. C. J. Armstrong, C.M.G., G.O.C. the Montreal Military 
District, all of whom had provided generous assistance in planning 
and completing the armoury project. Other guests included Lieut. - 
General Sir R. E. W. Turner, V.C., who came from Quebec for the 
occasion; the Venerable Archdeacon F. G. Scott, who, as Canon Scott, 
had been the Regiment’s first Protestant Chaplain; Col. D. R. 
McCuaig, Commanding the 5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of 
Canada; Lieut.-Col. C. F. C. Porteous, M.C., who had served as a 
subaltern with the 14th and, since demobilization, had succeeded to 
command of the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada; Lieut.-Col. 
G. S. Stairs, Commanding Officer of the 1st Regiment, Canadian 
Grenadier Guards; Lieut.-Col. A. V. Tardiff, of the 65th Regiment, 
Carabiniers de Mont-Royal; Mr. McLagan, Mayor of the City of 
Westmount; Mr. Paul Mercier, M.P., in whose parliamentary consti- 
tuency the armoury was situated; and a large number of distinguished 
citizens and soldiers. 

Previous to the reception of guests, the Regiment, under command 
of Lieut.-Col. J. E. McKenna, M.C., with Major H. G. Brewer, M.C., 
as Second-in-Command, and with the companies commanded respec- 
tively by Major R. H. Hood, Major G. V. Whitehead, Capt. A. T. 
Howell, M.C., and Major H. Armstrong, was drawn up on three sides 
of a square for salute to the colours, reception of the Minister of 
National Defence, and religious dedication of the new building. When 




Captain G. B. McKean. v.< , m.c., m.m. 

ACCIDENTALLY KILLED IN 192f> 



1925 



REORGANIZATION 



293 



the colours had been honoured, and the Minister accorded right of 
entry in the name of the King, Hon. Capt. H. Laws, Chaplain of the 
Regiment, offered the following prayer, dedicating the armoury and 
expressing in simple words the ideals 'which had prompted its 
erection: — 



“Almighty and Eternal God, King of all Kings, Who 
hast put it into the hearts of Thy servants to erect this 
building for the training of men who are to serve their 
King and Country, and to the memory of the gallant 
dead of this and sister regiments, who laid down their 
lives in the Great War, we dedicate this building to Thy 
service, and to the service of our Empire. And we pray 
Thee that the men who now, and in time to come, train 
within these walls may be true to the high and noble 
ideals of those fallen comrades, who made the name of 
this Regiment glorious in service. And may Truth, 
Justice, and Right ever flourish here, to the glory of Thy 
Holy Name ”. 









* 1 


















APPENDICES 



APPENDIX A 



The Royal Montreal Regiment 



HONOUR ROLL 



KILLED IN ACTION OR DIED OE WOUNDS 



Adamchuk, Pte. Jack 
Adams, Pte. David 
Adams, Pte. Dunbar 
Adams, Pte. William George 
Adcock, Pte. Thomas F. 

Addison, Pte. Joseph 
Aitken, Sergt. Robert 
Alcock, Pte. Charles 
Alford, Pte. Robert A. 

Alexander, Pte. William 
Aliaby, Pte. Hanford S. 

Allan, Corp. Emmett F., M.M. 

Allan, Corp. Leonard 

Allan, Lieut. Robert James, M.C., M.M. 

Allen, Pte. Edwin C. 

Allen, Pte. Francis W. 

Allison, A/Sergt. James 
Amand, Pte. Philip 
Anderson, Pte. Bernard B. 

Anderson, Pte. Joseph 
Anderson, Pte. Oscar 
Anderson, Pte. Samuel 
Anderson, Pte. Thomas R. 

Anderson, Pte. William J. 

Andre, Pte. Adrien 
Andrew, Pte. Oswald A. 

Angell, Pte. Albert 
Ankers, Pte. Edward 
Appleton, Pte. Arthur E. 

Arbon, Pte. George 
Argue, Pte. James R. 

Armstrong, C.S.M. George 
Armstrong, Corp. Noble H. J. 

Arnold, Pte. Edward 
Arsenault, Pte. Theodore F. 

Arundell, Sergt. John D. H. 

Ashley, Pte. Monson Frederick 



Ashworth, Pte. James 
Aubin, Sergt. Napoleon 

Bagshaw, Pte. Walter 
Bain, Pte. Frederick 
Bain, Pte. Robert 
Baird, Lieut. Andrew Stuart 
Baisbrown, Pte. Noel 
Baldwin, Pte. Horatio 
Balleine, Pte. Allan Cyril 
Barca-Carp, Pte. Vladimir 
Bardsley, Pte. Colin G. C. 

Barker, Pte. Hubert P., M.M. 
Barnes, Pte. Thomas James 
Barraclough, Pte. Joe 
Barter, Lance-Corp. Harold 
Bartholomew, Pte. Verne 
Bartlett, Pte. George L. 

Basque, Pte. Alexander 
Batten, Pte. James 
Batuk, Pte. Sam 
Beaglev, Capt. Thomas G. 

Bears, Pte. James H. 

Beaton, Capt. William Evan, M.C. 
Beattie, Pte. William 
Bedard, Pte. Rodolphe 
Beeson, Corp. Edward J. 

Beggs, Pte. Bernard 
Bclair, Pte. Fred. 

Belanger, Pte. Leo 
Belanger, Pte. Lucien 
Bell, Pte. George 
Bell, Pte. John Robert 
Bell, Pte. Reginald, M.M. 

Bellamy, C.S.M. John Henry 
Bellew, Pte. Ronald 
Belyea, Pte. William N. 



HONOUR ROLL 



297 



Bennett, Pte. Frederick 
Bennett, Pte. James 
Bennett, Lance-Corp. Percy F. 
Bent, Pte. John A. 

Bermudez, Pte. Manuel 
Berry, Pte. Mark 
Berryman, Pte. George 
Berthiaume, Pte. Armand 
Bertram, Corp. John A., M.M. 
Bertrand, Pte. Fred 
Beswick, Sergt. Archie Neville 
Betts, Pte. Magnus 
Biggs, Pte. George Edward 
Binet, Pte. Alfred 
Bingham, Pte. Herbert N. 

Binks, Pte. Joseph A. S. 

Birrell, Pte. Robert 
Bish, Pte. Henry G. 

Bissonnette, Pte. Wilfred 
Black, Pte. Bob 

Black, Lance-Corp. Daniel, M.M. 
Blackett, Sergt. William C. 
Blaikie, Pte. Stanley 
Blake, Pte. Frank 
Blakeman, Pte. Claude, D.C.M. 
Blandford, Sergt. Archie 
Blaney, Pte. James 
Blomlie, Pte. John Arnold 
Blyth, Pte. Alfred 
Boa, Pte. Frank T. 

Boddie, Pte. Alexander T. 

Boivin, Pte. Henri 
Bolduc, Pte. Laurent 
Bolton, Pte. Jacob 
Bolton, Pte. Joseph 
Bond, Pte. Arthur 
Boniface, Pte. Charles 
Booth, Pte. Harry 
Bouchard, Pte. Celestin 
Boudreau, Lance-Sergt. Antoine 
Boudreau, Pte. Henri 
Bourcier, Coni. Eugene 
Bourgeois, Pte. Blair 
Bourgeois, Lieut. Rene 
Boute, Pte. John 
Bowden, Pte. James H. 

Bowen, Pte. Brinley T. 

Bowron, Pte. William C. W. 



Bowyer, Lance-Corp. J. Lome 
Boyce, Pte. Arthur 
Boyce, Pte. William P. 

Boylan, Pte. James H. 

Bradbury, Pte. Alec 
Bradley, Pte. Joseph 
Brand, Pte. John 
Brand, Pte. Robert G. 

Bremner, Lance-Corp. Reginald 0. 
Brennan, Corp. William Henry 
Brewis, Pte. Joseph 
Briere, Pte. Armand 
Briggs, Pte. Oscar W. 

Brinkhurst, Corp. John 
Brinn, Lance-Corp. Frank 
Brissette, Pte. Georges 
Broadworth, Pte. Ernest M. 

Brock, Pte. Emanuel 
Brodeur, Pte. Ernest 
Brooks, Corp. Earl 
Brooks. Lance-Corp. John 
Brotherhood, Lieut. Wilfred Cashel 
Broughton. Lance-Corp. William 
Brouwer, Pte. Gerritt 
Brown, Pte. Arthur 
Brown, Pte. Harry C. 

Brown, Pte. Hugh 
Brown, Pte. John Henry 
Brown, Lance-Corp. John W. H. 

Brown, Pte. Lome 
Brown. Pte. Wilfred P. 

Buchanan, Pte. Orville A. 

Budgen, Pte. John 
Bull, Pte. Frank 
Burberry, Pte. Alfred 
Burke, Pte. William 
Burnet, Pte. Ernest 
Burnett, Pte. George 
Burnett, Pte. Harry C. 

Bumie, Pte. James 
Burritt, Pte. Alfred C. 

Burroughs, Lance-Corp. Cecil A. 
Burrows, Pte. George P. 

Burt, Pte. John (correct name Matthew 
H. Todd) 

Bush, Pte. William G. 

Bussell, Pte. William 

Butler, Lance-Sergt. Frederick P. 

Buxton, Pte. John 



298 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Cadorette, Pte. Pierre 
Caine, Pte. John 
Caldwell, Pte. Gault Gaston 
Cameron, Corp. Evan Stuart 
Cameron, Pte. Laurence 
Campbell, Pte. Colin 
Campbell, Pte. John 
Campbell, Sergt. John Douglas 
Campbell, Pte. Samuel T. 

Caravan, Pte. James 
Card, Sergt. Charles A. 

Carey, Pte. Alfred 

Carey, Pte. Edward (correct name Ed- 
ward Carey White) 

Carkner, Sergt. R. M. 

Carmell, Pte. John W. 

Carnahan, Pte. John T. 

Caron, A/Sergt. Joseph Isaie 
Carpenter, Pte. John 
Carriere, Pte. Joseph 
Carriere, Pte. Leopold 
Carson, Pte. James 
Carson, Capt. John C. K., M.C. 

Carter, Pte. Arthur J. 

Carter, Pte. Sidney Charles 
Cartwright, Pte. Joseph 
Casey, Pte. John Joseph 
Casey, Pte. Thomas G. 

Castonguay, Pte. Felix 
Castonguay, Pte. Napoleon P. 

Cater, Pte. Thomas 
Catherwood, Pte. Ewart 
Chaisson, Pte. William 
Chambers, Pte. Herbert C. 

Chandler, Pte. Harold 
Chanu, Sergt. Henry 
Chapadeau, Pte. Joseph Edmund 
Chappell. Pte. Sydney B. 

Charbonneau. Pte. Magloire 
Cherrier, Sergt. Raymond 
dies. sell. Pte. Frederick 
Chew. Pte. Albert 
Chicoine, Pte. Emile 
Chinneck, Pte Arthur B. 

Chippendale, Pte. George 
Chubb, Pte. Frederick 
Clmdleigh, Pte. Walter S. 

Clark. Pte. Alexander 
Clark, Pte. James 
Clark, Pte. Thomas II. C. 



Clarke, Pte. Andrew W. 

Clarke, Lance-Corp. Elihu J. 

Clarke, Pte. John H. 

Clarkson, Major David William, M.C. 
Clayton, Pte. Reuben 
Cleary, Pte. William H. 

Clement, Pte. Ensign 
Clifford, Pte. Frank 
Clifford, Pte. Thomas 
Clinch, Lance-Sergt. Thomas J. 

Close, Lieut. Arthur 
Clune, Pte. William C. 

Cobb, Pte. Chester 
Cobley, Pte. Sidney 
Coleman, Pte. David John 
Coleman, Pte. Joseph 
Collins, Pte. John J. 

Collins, Pte. Maurice J. 

Colton, Pte. George 
Colwell, Pte. Ralph 
Colwell, Pte. Walter J. 

Connors, Pte. William P. 

Conroy. Pte. Michael J. 

Conway, Pte. Joseph 
Cook. Pte. George W. M. 

Cook, Pte. Walter B. 

Cook. Pte. Walter C. 

Cooke, Pte. Percy H. 

Cooley, Pte. James 
Coombes, Pte. Edward James 
Cooper. Pte. James R. 

Coote, Pte. Frederick D. 

Corcoran, Pte. John B. 

Corey, Pte. Walter C. 

Corin, Pte. Charles W. A. 

Cote, Pte. Aquilas 
Cote, Corp. Ernest 
Cote, Pte. George F. 

Cotton, Pte. lames 
Coubrough. Pte. David 
Coull, Pte. Leslie G. 

Court, Pte. George 
Cowen, Capt. Edwin 
Cowen, A/Corp. John 
Coznik, Pte. Nick 
Crabb, Pte. George A. 

Craik, Pte. William 
Crane, Pte. William 
Crawford, Pte. Fred. 

Crawford, Pte. Joseph 



HONOUR ROLI 



299 



‘ i ; 



Creighton, C.S.M. James A. 

Crerar, Pte. John Stewart 
Crockett, Sergt. Parker H., D.C.M. 
Cronkwright, Pte. Wilbert John 
Crook, Pte. Wilfred Ernest 
Crowell, Pte. Gordon H. 

Cumming, Pte. John 
Cunning , 1 Pte! John F. 
Cunningham, Pte. Edward 
Currin, Pte. Ernest 
Curtis, Pte. William 
Cusson, Pte. Arthur 
Cuyler, Pte. Charles Henry 



Dabate, Pte. David 
Dailey, Pte. D. 

Daly, Pte. John 
Dalton, Pte. John P. 

Damphouse, Pte. Joseph 
Daniels, Corp. Nicholas, M.M. 

Dastou, Pte. Amedee 
Davidson, Pte. John L. 

Davies, Pte. Edward 
Davin, Lieut.' Henry Arthur 
Davis, Pte. Harvey H. 

Davy, Lieut. John Harper 
Dawson, Pte. Hector 
Day, Pte. Henry 
Denman, Pte. Clarence B. 

Dennis, Pte. James (correct name Hugh 
McCabe) 

Denny, Pte. William 
Desilest. Pte. William 
DesJardins, Pte. Wilfred 
Desroche, Pte. Arthur 
Devine, Pte. Frank 
Devlin, Pte. Archie 
Dewhurst, Pte. Thomas 
Dick, Lance-Corp. Roy B. 

Dickey, Pte. William 
Dickson, Pte. David 
Dimma, Pte. Charles S. 

Dionne, Pte. Charles 
Dixon, Pte. George 
Doherty, Pte: James 
Doiron, Pte. Charles W. 

Donnelly, Pte. John Austin 
Donogen, Pte. John 
Dostert, Corp. Peter 



Doucet, Pte. Meddie 
Dower, Pte. Edward 
Drummond. Pte. Archibald M. D. 
Drysdale, Lance-Corp. Arthur 
Duhamel, CB.M. Ludovic 
Duncan, Pte. Robert 
Dunlop, Pte. Andrew F. 

Dunn, Pte. George 
Dunn, Pte. William James 
Dupont, Pte. James Arthur 
Dupuis, Pte. Francis 
Dupuy, Pte. Harry L. 

Durance, Pte. Ernest 
Dyer, Pte. Charles E. 



Easdale, Pte. William G. 

East, Pte. Edward James 

Eaton. Pte. Robert 

Ede, Corp. William F., M.M. 

Eden, Pte. Harry A. 

Edwards, Pte. James 
Egan, Pte. Michael J. 

Eggleton, Pte. Clarence G. 

Elderkin, Pte. Vernon 
Ellison, Pte. Reginald F. 

Elliott. Pte. Clarence Arnold, D.C.M. 
Elliott, Pte. Cecil Arthur 
Elliott, Pte. Robert (Xo. 26194) 
Elliott, Pte. Robert. (Xo. 464136) 
England, Pte. Albert 
England, Lance-Corp. Harold 
English, Pte. Walter 
Ensum, Pte. Edward Walter 
Evans, Pte. Samuel R. 

Evers, Pte. Lewis 



Fagan, Pte. Edward 
Fagan, Pte. Thomas 
Fairbairn, A/C.S.M. Gilbert, D.C.M. 
Farley, Pte. Howard H. 

Faulkner, Pte. William 
Favlor, Pte. Ralph T. 

Fecteau, Pte. Alfred A. 

Fegan, A/Sergt. William Patrick 
Fenton, Pte. William R. 

Ferguson, Pte. Ernest R. J. 
Ferguson, A/Corp. Wilbert 
Ferish, Pte. Charles 



300 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Few, Pte. James 

Finder, Lance-Corp. Charles 

Finlayson, Pte. John P. 

Finley, Pte. Ernest J. 

Fiset, Pte. Jean 
Fisher, Pte. Charles A. 

Fisher, Pte. Henry 
Fisk, Pte. James W. 

Fitzpatrick, Pte. Patrick 
Flanagan, Pte. Frank 
Fletcher, Pte. Arthur J. 

Fletcher, Pte. Dudley 
Flood, Corp. Arthur H. 

Flynn, Pte. Daniel 
Flynn, Pte. John 
Forbes, Pte. Benjamin 
Ford, Pte. Edwin 
Forsythe, Pte. Ernest 
Fortin, Lance-Corp. Albert 
Fotheringham, Lance-Corp. James, 
M.M. 

Fougere, Pte. Alexander 
Fountain, Pte. Fenny 
Fournier, Pte. Emile 
Francey, Pte. George 
Frazee, Pte. Frank E. 

Freeman, Pte. Douglas 
Freeman, Pte. Michael 
French, Pte. Walter F. 

Fry, Pte. William Frank 
Fry. Lance-Corp. William Henry 
Frye, Pte. Eraytus Howard 
Fulton. Pte. James 



Gabour.v, Pte. James 
Gadoury, Pte. Louis 
Gagnon, Pte. Lucicn 
Galbraith, Pte. Neil 
Gallant, Pte Anthony Prosper 
Gallant, Pte. Hector 
Gallant. Pte. Jean Baptiste 
Gallison, Pte. Frank 
Gandy, Pte. Robert Bertie 
Garbett, Sergt. Ernest G. 

Garner, Pte. Herbert F. 

Garon, Pte. Joseph E. 

Gaudet, Sergt. Frank. M.M. (Bar.) 
Gaudreau, Pte. Isidore 
Gauthier. Pte. Frank 



Geoffroy, Pte. Joel Aime 
Gervais, Lieut. Joseph A. 

Gibson, Pte. Thomas D. 

Gidony, Lieut. Francesco 
Gifford, Pte. Allan 
Gilbert, Corp. Grantley 
Gilbert, Pte. John Oliver 
Gillespie, Pte. Archibald James 
Gingras, Pte. Joseph 0. 

Gionais, Pte. Benjamin 
Godsall, Pte. Alfred 
Goedike, Pte. Louis 
Golding, Pte. Lyman E. 

Goodman, Pte. Bert 
Goodman, Pte. Walter 
Goodwin, Pte. Francis 
Gorrell, Corp. Richard 
Goss, Pte. William J. B. 

Goudal, Pte. Peter J. 

Goudreau, Pte. Alfred 
Goudreau, Pte. Flavien 
Gough, Pte. Howard 
Gould, Sergt. Albert E. 

Goulet, Pte. Joseph 
Govang, Pte. John E. 

Grace, Pte. William 
Gracie, Pte. Robert L. 

Grant, Pte. Robert W. 

Grant, Corp. William 
Gratton, Pte. Donat 
Gratton, Pte. Joseph U. C. 

Gravel. Pte. Edmond 
Graves, Pte. James Henry (correct 
name John E. Devlin) 

Gray, Pte. Austin 
Gray, Pte. William 
Green, Pte. Arthur J. 

Green, Pte. Francis J. 

Green, Pte. Robert Henry 
Grey, Pte. Anthony 
Greenfield. Pte. Thomas E. 

Greenway, Lance-Corp. Samuel T. 
Gregory, Lance-Corp. George H. 
Grondin, Lieut. Maurice M. 

Groves, Pte. William S. 

Guertin, Pte. Joseph Antoine 
Gutteridge, Pte. Leslie A. 



Ilackett, Pte. Michael J. 



HONOUR ROLI 



301 



Hackney, Pte. Frederick 
Hadfield. Pte. Arthur 
Haldeman, Pte. Frederick 
Hale, Pte. Corrie 
Hall, Pte. Robert 
Hall, Pte. Robert B. 

Hallett, Pte. Arden Roy 
Hamblet, Pte. Thomas 
Hamilton, Pte. James H. 

Hamm, Pte. William W. 

Hammill, Pte. Thomas P. 
Hammond. Pte. Frank J. 

Hancock, Sergt. Matthew J. 
Handrahan. Pte. Barney 
Hann. Pte William E. 

Hanson, Lance-Corp. Walter L. 
Harbus, Pte. Thomas 
Harding, Pte. Thomas S. 

Harper, Pte. McDonald F. 

Havill. Pte. William 
Hawkins, Pte. Samuel 
Hawley, Pte. Herman E. 

Hayhurst, Corp. Cornelius 
Haylock, Pte. George Edward 
Hazelgrove, Lance-Corp. Arthur W. 
Hazlett, Pte. Francis 
Heather, Pte. Fred William 
Henders. Pte. Wilfred E. 

Hetu, Pte. James 
Heuston. Lieut. Francis Robert 
Hewison, Pte. Ivan 
Hicklin, Pte. Charles H. 

Higginson, Corp. Harry S. 

Hilberg, Pte Harold O. 

Hind, Pte. James 
Hirshuk, Pte. H. 

Hixon, Pte. James J. 

Hoare, Lance-Sergt. John William 
Hockley, Pte. Henry 
Hodgen, Pte. William 
Holliday, Major William J., M.C. 
Hollis, Pte Henry E. 

Holman, Pte. A. 

Hooper, Pte. Ellis 
Hooppel, Pte. James H. 

Homett, Pte. Albert J. 

Horton, Pte. Alfred 
Houle, Pte. Henri 
Howe, Lieut. John 
Howgego, Pte. Arthur W. 



Hughes, Pte. William 
Huke, Lance-Corp. John William 
Hulekowich, Pte. John 
Humphreys, Pte. Albert Edward 
Humphreys, Pte. Mark 
Hunking, Pte. Haviland H. H. 

Hunt, Pte. Charles E. 

Hunt, Sergt. Henry 

Hurley, Lieut. Francis Joseph, D.C.M. 

Hyman, Lieut. Eugene N. 



lies, Pte. Harold Edward 



Jagoe, Pte. Hugh A. 

James, Pte. Samuel F. 

Jarvis, Pte. John D. 

Jennings, Pte. Frederick S. 
Jennings, Pte. Thomas 
Jensen, Pte. Jens P. 

Jimmo, Pte. William, M.M. 
Johnson, Pte. Lionel William 
Johnson, Sergt. Michael, M.M. 
Johnson, Pte. William H. 
Johnston, Pte. George E. 
Johnston, Pte. James 
Jones, Pte. Arthur 
Jones, Pte. Arthur Stanley 
Jones, Sergt. David 
Jones, Pte. George 
Jones, Pte. James 
Juckes, Pte. Richard S. 

Judge, Pte. Raymond Harry 
Juett, Lance-Corp. Daniel W. 



Kalabza, Sergt. William 
Kearney, Pte. John H. 
Kearns, Pte. Melville C. 
Kearns. A/Sergt. Raymond 
Keefe, Pte. Michael J. 

Keen, Pte. Percy 
Keen, Pte. Reuben C. 
Keenan, Pte. Harry 
Kehoe, Pte. Thomas 
Keiller, Pte. William A. 
Kelly, Pte. William 
Kemp, Pte. Cyril John 
Kennan. Pte. William James 



302 



rHE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Kennedy, Pte. Harold M. 
Kennedy, Pte. Frederick 
Kenny, Pte. Francis 
Kenyon, Pte. George 
Kilch, Pte. Alexander 
Kindred, Lance-Corp. Louis A. 
King, Sergt. Ernest W. 

King, Lance-Corp. John, M.M. 
Kingsley, Lance-Corp. Charles E. 
Kinlock, Pte. Frank 
Kirkconnell, Lieut. Walter Allison 
Kiss, Pte. Albert G. 

Knight. Pte. William A. 

Knott, Pte. Francis 



Lacroix, Lance-Corp. Louis S. 
Laframboise, Pte. Willie 
Laird, Pte. William A. 

Lambert, Pte. John 

Lancaster, Lance-Corp. Thomas A. V. 

Langevin, Pte. Ovila 

Langlois, Pte. J. Raoul 

LaPierrc, Pte. Albert M. 

Lapointe, Pte. Charles 
I.arisey, Pte. John 
Larivierc, Lance-Corp. Louis J. 
Larocque, Pte. Charles 
Laurent, Pte. Georges 
Laurie, Pte. James R. 

Laurin, Pte. Horace 
Lavigne, Pte. Robert 
Lavis, Pte. Arthur 
Lavoie, Pte. Alphonse J. 

Lavoie. Pte. Paul E. 

Lawler, Pte. Thomas 
Lawton, Pte. Eustace 
Leashuk, Pte. Karp 
Leavitt, Pte. Henry J. 

Lebrun, Pte. Wilfred 
Leclair, Sergt. Joseph 
LeClair, Pte. Lemuel 
LeCornu, Pte. Philip F. 

Lecrnu, Pte. William 
Leduc, Lance-Corp. Donat 
Lee, Pte. John 
Lefebvre, Pte. Lorenzo 
I, oiler, Pte. Marshall 
Legau It, Pte. Paul E. 

Legge, Pte. Robert E. 



Leggett, Pte. Albert 
Lemay, Pte. Alfred 
Lemay, Pte. Henry 
Leonard. Pte. Frederick 
Lepine, Sergt.. Eugene 
Lesage, Sergt. Paul 
Leslie, Pte. Richard 
Lessard, Pte. Joseph R. 

Leveille, Pte. Albert 
Levesque, Pte. Henri 
Levesque, Pte. Walter 
Lewis, Pte. Arthur J. 

Lewis, Pte David 
Lewis, Pte. William T. 

Leyland, Lance-Corp. George H. 
Libby, Pte. Harry W. 

Linelberg, Pte. Yaakim Gerhart 
Lister. Pte. Robert Winfield 
Little, Corp. Roy F. 

Littlejohn, Pte. Arthur 
Livingood, Pte. Warren 
IJoyd. Pte. Leslie M. 

Lockett, Lance-Corp. Levi 
Lockwood, Pte. Hubert F. 
Lomax, Pte. Cyril Charles 
Long, Pte. Irven 
Lord, Pte. Joseph 
Loup, Corp. Alexander 
I.ovette, Pte. Derrek 
Low, Pte. Walter Cecil 
Lowe, Pte. Charles 
Lowrie, Pte. Lester 
Lucasevitch, Pte. Ivan 
Lupien, Pte. Valaire 
Lynds, Pte. Berry 
Lyons, Lance-Corp. Charles 
Lyttle, Pte. Robert 



MacDonald, Pte. Donald A 
MacDonald, Pte. Robert Gr in 
MacDougail, Pte. James 
MacIntyre, Pte. Gordon C. 
MacLean, Pte. James 
MacLeod. Pte. James Howard 
MncRae, Pte. Samuel Finley 
Madden, Pte. Fred. 

Magnan, Pte. Adelard 
Maher, Pte. Michael 
Mahoney, Lance-Corp. Patrick 



HONOUR ROLT 



303 



Major, Lieut. Albert Frederick 
Makepeace, Pte. Lionel E. 

Malt by, Pte. Arthur 
Manks, Lance-Corp. George 
Manley, Pte. Percy E. 

Mann. Pte. Sifton 
Manusar, Pte. Harry 
March, Pte. Herbert 
Marcotte, Pte. Aime 
Markham, Sergt. Frederick A. 
Marshall, Sergt. Charles 
Marshall, A/Sergt. Clarence 
Marshall, Pte John R. 

Martin, Corp. Alfred Henry 
Martin, Pte. Edward 
Martin, Pte. Fidele J. 

Martin, Pte. Frederick C. 

Martin, Pte. John 
Martin, Pte. Joseph 
Martin, Pte. Thomas J. 

Massey, Pte. Francois X. 

Matheson, Pte. Angus Samuel 
Matheson. Pte. Frederick 
Mathews, Pte. George Clarence 
Matthews, Pte. Alonzo 
Matthews, Pte. John 
Mattocks, Pte. George 
May, Sergt. Francis Lome 
May, Lance-Corp. William 
May, Pte. William Henry 
Mayes, Pte. Harold Elmer 
Maynard, Pte. Frank Charles 
McAlpine. Pte. Albert 
McArthur. Pte. Harry 
McArthur. Sergt. William C., M.M. 
McAssey, Lance-Sergt. George H., 
M.M. 

McAuley. Pte Peter A., M.M. (No. 
444189) 

McAuley, Pte. Peter A. (No. 713048) 
McAvoy, Pte. Michael 
McBumey, Pte. Fred William 
McCall, Pte Arthur Earl 
McCallum. Pte. James F. 

McCann, Pte. Philip 
McClentic, Pte. Cyrus William 
McColl, Pte Daniel Hose 
McCormack, Sergt. John 
McCormack. Pte. Michael John 
McCormick. Pte. Daniel 



McCormick, Pte. Hugh R. 

McCombs, Pte. Frederick G. 

McCurdie, Pte. William 
McCusker, Pte. Pat 
McDavitt, Lance-Corp. James 
McDiarmaid, Pte. James 
McDonald, Pte. Duncan 
McDonald. Pte. Malcolm 
McDonald, Pte. William H. 

McDuff, Pte. Eusebe 
McFarland Pte. Walter 
McFem, Pte. Thomas E. 

McGarry, Pte. Jack 
McGeachv, Lance-Corp. Duncan 
McGillivray, Pte. James 
McGowan, Pte. Thomas 
McGuigan, Corp. Samuel 
McGuire, Pte. James 
McKay, Pte. David 
McKean, Pte. William B. 

Me Keegan, Pte. James 
McKell, Pte. Fred. 

McKenna, Pte. Peter Joseph 
McKenzie, Lance-Corp. George C., 
M.M. 

McKinnon. Lance-Corp. Allan J. 
McKinnon, Pte. Daniel N. 

McKinnon, Sergt. John Rose, M.M. 
McKnight, Pte. William J. 

McLaren, Pte William D. 

McLean. Lieut. Archibald L., M.C_ 
D.C.M. 

McLean, Pte. Charles 
McLennan, Pte. John A. 

McLennan. Pte. William 
McLeod, Pte. Angus A. 

McLeod, Pte. Jack 
McLeod. Pte. Kenneth A. 

McMahon, Pte. Samuel 
McMann, Pte. Leslie 
McNaughton. Pte. George Andrew 
McNaughton. Pte Peter 
McNulty, Pte John Henry L. 

McPhail, Pte. Neil 
McQuarrie, Pte. James A. 

McQuarrie, Pte. John 
McRae, Pte. Alexander R. 

McTurk, Pte. John G. 

Melanson, Pte. Joseph 
Mellson. Pte. William C. 



304 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Melnik, Pte. Ivan 
Mercer, Corp. George Herbert 
Messier, Pte. Hector 
Metelka, Pte. Alexander 
Metherell, Pte. Edward 
Mildon, Pte. Bronson 
Mildon, Pte. .Tames R. 

Miller, Pte. Herbert L. 

Miller, Pte. James P. 

Miller, Pte. Samuel John 
Miller, Pte. William S. 

Milloy, Pte. Mathew 
Mills, Lieut. John 
Mitcheli, Pte. Charles A. 
Mitchell, Pte. Henri 
Mitchell, Pte. Patrick 

Mitchell, Pte. Roy T. (correct 
R. T. Berryhill) 

Mitchell, Pte. Stanley 
Mitchell, Sergt. Thomas 
Moffatt, Pte. Morley Everd 
Molt, Pte. Charles M. 

Mondeau, Pte. Clinton 
Monk, Pte. George H. 

Moody, Pte. Richard 
Moon, Pte. Percy D. 

Mooney, Corp. James 
Moore, Pte. Alexander W. 
Moore, Sergt. Thomas 
Moran, Pte. John 
More, F|te. Harold 
Morgan, Pte. Ernest A. 

Morgan, Pte. George 
Morin, Pte. Alfred 
Morris, Pte. Reginald .1. 
Morrison, Pte. Edward Roy 
Morrison, Pte. Frederick W . 
Morrison, Pte. Harry 
Morrison, Pte. John 
Morrison, Pte. John II. 
Morrison, Pte. Joseph 
Morrow, Pte. Lorance Thomas 
Morrow, Pte. William W. 
Morvan, Pte. Heme 
Moss, Pte. William 
Movshuk, Pte. Demetre 
Muir, Pte. Archie 
Mulholland, Pte. Robert 
Mundy, Pte. Thomas 
Mimn, Pte. Archibald 



Munn, Pte. Percy J. 
Murchison. Pte. John M. 
Murphy, Pte. Arthur 
Murphy, Pte. Frank 
Murray, Pte. Alexander 
Murray, Pte. Barnard 
Murray, Pte. Clarence 
Murray, Pte. Hector 
Murray, Pte. John 
Murray-Browne, Pte. Orde 
Murtagh, Pte. Lawrence 
Musgrove, Pte. Marshall T. 
Mustchin, Pte. Harold 
Muttart, Pte. Edward 
Muttart, Pte. Ernest 
Muttart, Corp. Jesse E., M.M 
Myles, Pte. Thomas J. E. B. 



Nadin, Pte. Chris 
Neil, Pte. James S. 

Neilson, Lieut. Frank Kenny 
Nelson, Pte. Linder 
Nesbitt, Lance-Corp. George 
Newby, Pte. John 
Nicholls, Pte. Percy Henry 
Newton, Pte. Bernard 
Nicholson, Pte. Raymond 
Nightingale, Pte. Wilfred J. 
Nikitin, Pte. Feofilak 
Nirenberg, Pte. Israel 
Niven, Pte. Alexander 
Noble, Pte. Nelson A. 
Noonan, Pte. William 
Norton, Lance-Corp. Cecil H 
Noyles, Pte. Walter George 
Nuttall. Pte. Herbert 
Nutting, Pte. John 

O'Brien, Pte. Thomas P. 
Officer, Pte. William 
O'Grady, Lance-Corp. John J 
O’Kane, Pte. Daniel 
Osgood, Pte. Wilfred J. 
O’Sullivan, Pte. James 
Ouellette, Pte. Dieudonne 

Packer. Pte. John 
Pake, Pte. John 



HONOUR ROLI 



305 



Paquette, Pte. Leme 
Paquin, Pte. Leopold 
Paradis, Pte. Alfred 
Paradis, Pte. E. 

Paradis, Pte. Joseph 
Parker, A/Corp. Charles W. 

Parker, Pte. George 
Parkinson, Pte. Charles 
Parry, Pte. Bernard H. 

Parsons, Pte. George 
Patch. Pte. Charles N. 

Pate, Pte. Sidney 
Paul, Pte. George W. 

Pavluchuk, Pte. Tony 
Payment, Pte. John H. 

Pent'ord, Pte. Albert 
Penny, Capt. Edward G. T., M.C. 
Pepin, Lanee-Corp. Donat 
Perrins, C-S-M. John Walter 
Peters, Pte. Frank 

Petrie, Lance-Corp. Alexander, M.M. 
Philip, Pte. Alexander E. 

Piche, Pte. William Edward 
Pickard, Pte. Albert D. 

Pickup, Capt. Walter W. 

Pierce, Pte. William W. 

Pike, Pte. Edwin J. 

Pimblett, Pte. Alfred 
Place. Pte. Charles S. 

Planche, Pte. Norman E. 

Platt, Pte. Richard 
Plow, Major Arthur, M.C., M.M. 
Plumadore, Pte. Charles 
Plumridge, Pte. Joseph 
Pogson, Pte. Victor 
Poirier, Pte. Auguste 
Poitras, Pte. Anthime 
Pope, Sergt. Alfred J. 

Pope, Lieut. Jerry Gordon 
Portelance. Pte. Joseph 
Porter, Pte. Frank A., M.M. 
Portsmouth, Corp. Eldon E. 
Potterton. Pte. David 
Potvin, Pte. Louis Victor 
Poulton, Pte. Alfred J. 

Povar, Pte. Simson 

Powell. Major Alan Torrence, D.S.O. 

Powney, Pte. Robert 

Pratt, Lance-Corp. Bertie James 

Pratt, Pte Daniel Burns 



Pratt, Pte. Mark A. 

Presant, Pte. Bert 
Preshong, Pte. Bert 
Prevost, Pte. Frank 
Prevost, Pte. Theophile 
Price, Corp. Henry James 
Price, Pte. Richard 
Prince, Pte. Lawrence 
Prockson, Pte. Edwin Charles 
Procter, Pte. Herbert 
Purcell, Pte. Francis 



Quick, Pte. Harold Ewart 



Raby. Pte. Arthur G. 

Racette, Pte. Jean B. F. 

Raggett. Pte. Sidney 
Ramsay, Sergt. Alexander 
Rankin, C.S.M. Richard William 
Rattigan, Pte. John P. 

Raverty, Pte. Joseph J. 

Rawson, Pte. Arthur 
Ray, Pte. Arnold 
Ray, Pte. Charles N. 

Reddall, Pte. Frank 
Reddicliffe. Pte. Frederick 
Reid. Pte. Walter 
Reid, Pte. William 
Richard, Lieut. Lawrence Brown 
Richmond, Pte. Reginald A. A. 
Riggall, Pte. Edward 
Riopel, Pte. Josephat 
Roberts, Pte. Frederick 
Roberts, Pte. John 
Robertson, Pte. Edmund 
Robertson, Pte. Ian 
Robertson. Pte. John C. 
Robertson, Pte. Norman H. 
Robey, Corp. Leonard 
Robinson, Pte. Thomas 
Rogers. Pte. Gerald A.. M.M. 
Rogers, Pte. Walter J. T. 

Rolfe. Pte. Reginald N. 

Rose, Pte. Gaston 
Ross, Lieut. Gordon Knox 
Ross, Pte. William 
Rouleau, Pte. Benjamin 
Rousseau. Sergt. Joseph, M.M. 



306 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Rowbotham, A/Corp. Walter 
Rowland, Pte. Hubert L. 

Roy, Pte. Arthur 
Roy, Pte. Donat 
Roy, Pte. John II. 

Russell, Lance-Sergt. P’red 
Russell, Lance-Corp. George F. 
Russell, Pte. James 
Ryan, Pte. Ernest 
Ryan, Pte. Herman 
Ryan, Pte. Patrick 



Sadgrove, Pte. Edgar 
Sage, Pte. Samuel C. (correct name 
Ernest G. F. Fielder) 

St. Denis, Pte. Oliver 
St. Laurent, Pte. Adelard 
Sambell, Pte. Thomas George 
Sanders, Pte. Thomas II. 

Sanders, Pte. Richard I. 

Sant, Pte. William 
Saunders, Pte. Ernest W. 

Schoumik, Pte. Serva 
Schuler, Pte. Joseph 
Schuler, Pte. Theodore 
Scott, Pte. Cecil Edgar 
Scott. Corp. Robert, M.M. 

Scott. Pte. Robert L. 

Seale, Pte. Wilbert Thomas 
Seely, Pte. Wesley N. 

Seguin, Pte. Antonio 
Shanks, Pte. Alexander 
Shannon, Pte. Howard Alex. 

Sharp, Lieut. Wylie 
Shaw, Major Allan Crawford 
Shelding, Pte. Harvey 
Shepard. Pte. Alvie Skinner 
Sherar. Pte. William D. 

Shergold. Pte. Frederick 
Sheridan, Pte. Philip 
Sheridan. Pte. William J. 

Shirco, Pte. Fred 
Short, Pte. George P. 

Silke. Pte. Joseph H. 

Sime, Pte. John 
Simmons, Pte. Harmon J. 

Simpson, Pte. Arnold 
Sinfteld. Pte. Alfred 
Si ret t, Pte. Bert K. 



Skilton, Pte. George H. 

Slater, Lance-Corp. Thomas 
Slater, Pte. Richard 
Smith, Sergt. Albert Ernest 
Smith, Pte. Alexander 
Smith, Pte. Bertram H. 

Smith, Pte. Charles 
Smith, Pte. James 
Smith, Pte. John 
Smith, Pte. Marshall 
Smith, Pte. Melvin T. 

Smith, Pte. Norman M. 

Smith, Pte. Percy J. 

Smith, Pte. Roy A. M. 

Smith, Pte. Walter E. 

Smith, Pte. William J. 

Smith, Pte. William W. 

Snow, Pte. John T. 

Soady, Pte. George P. 

Southom, Pte. Norman 
Sparrow, Pte. Francis R., M.M. 
Sparrow, Pte. Robert 
Speers, Pte. George 
Spiers, A/Sergt. Robert 
Spiggs, Pte. Albert E. 

Spurr, Pte. Edwin Leon 
Stairs, Capt. Gavin Lang 
Stairs, Lieut. George William 
Stanton, Pte. James R. 

Staples, Pte. Edwin Alfred 
Steacie, Capt. Richard 
Steele, Pte. Eric Gauntlett 
Steeves, Pte. Malcolm A. 
Stephens, Pte. Richard E. 
Stevenson, Lieut. James Lloyd 
Stewart, Pte. George Alexander 
Stewart, Pte. Leon Benson 
Stigepcich, Pte. Arsen 
Stuart, Pte. Ralph B. 

Stumpf, Pte. Herbert 
Suberville, Pte. Auguste 
Sullivan, Pte. James 
Sullivan. Sergt. John 
Sullivan, Pte. William 
Sumption. Major John F. 

Sussens, Pte. Fred C. 

Swann. Lance-Corp. Harold II. 
Swift, Corp. Fred 
Swift, Corp. George 
Swindlelnirst. Lance-Corp. Arthur 



HONOUR ROLI 



307 



Swindley, Pte. Douglas 
Syder, Pte. Sydney 
Sylvester, Lieut. George M. 
Symonds, Lieut. Herbert Boyd 



Taillfer, Pte. Joseph 
Tapp, Pte. Adolphis 
Tardy, Pte. Robert W. 

Taylor, Pte. Charles N. 

Taylor, Pte. John G. 

Taylor, Sergt. Wellesley S. 

Teahen, Pte. Michael 
Theriault, Pte. Nectaire 
Therrien, Pte. Ismail Theophile 
Thibault, Pte. Alcide 
Thimot, Pte. Odelpha 
Thomas, Sergt. Thomas 
Thompson, Pte. Henri 0. 
Thompson, Capt. Henry Aubrey 
Thompson, Pte. Robert William 
Thompson, Pte. Samuel 
Thompson, Pte. Thomas 
Thomson, Pte. George 
Thomson. Pte. Roland F. 

Tipler, A/Corp. Harry 
Toirier, Pte. Odelon 
Tope, Pte. Whitney 
Topping, Pte. Alexander 
Torrance, Pte. John 
Trapnell. Pte. Donald M. 

Trott, Pte. William 
Turley, Sergt. George 
Turner, Pte. Edward 
Turner, Pte. Walter 
Turner, Sergt William (Xo. 25774) 
Turner, Lance-Corp. William (Xo. 
25652) 

Turner, Pte. William Charles 
Turner, Pte. William H. 

Twaddle, Pte. Alexander 

Vaillant, Pte. Hector 
Vaulson, Pte. Charles 
Vigneault, Pte. Theophile 
Von Berg, Pte. Leslie C. 

Vosburgh, Pte. Ernest 

Walker, Pte. John 

Walker, Lance-Corp. William F. 



Wallace, Pte. Walfred J. 

Wallis, Pte. Albert 
Wallis, Sergt. Alexander 
Walsh, Pte. Harrison Henry 
Warbrook, Pte. Thomas 
Ward, Pte. Albert E. 

Ward, Pte. John W. 

Wareham, Pte. John 
Warminton, Major John Xicol 
Watson, Lieut. Basil M. 

Weatherbie, Pte. Francis C. 

Weir, Sergt. Joseph 
Wells, Sergt. Arthur 
Wells, A/Sergt. Harry W. 

West. Pte. Arthur 
West, Pte. Bill Jim 
West, Pte. Lewis E. 

Wharton. Pte. J. A. 

Wheaton. Pte. Arnold H. 

Whitby, Pte. Charles D. B. 
Whitehead, Capt. Edward Ashworth 
Whitehead. Pte. Frank I 
Whiting, Pte. Edward 
Whitton, Pte. George 
Wiffin, Pte. Frederick 
Wilcox, Pte. Clement James 
V ilcox, Pte. Harry (correct name 
Harry Smith) 

Wilkinson, Corp. John F. 

Williams, Pte. Frederick 
Williamson, Capt. George Massey 
Williamson. Pte. Hugh Stephen 
Wilson, Pte. William 
Wilson. Pte. William 0. 

Winter, Pte. Robert 
Winton, Pte. David 
Wiseman, Pte. Edouard 
Wood, Pte. John Thomas 
Woodforde, Pte. Walter 
Woodrow, Pte. William 
Woods, Pte. Ernest 
Woods, Pte. John Henry 
Woodwards, Pte. Robert J. 

Wragg, Sergt. Herbert 
Wright, Pte. William 
Wyatt, Pte. Herbert V. 



Young, Pte. Frank E. 
Young, Pte. Lester B. 



308 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Voting, Lance-Corp. Wendell H. Zachareviez, Pte. Sirge 

Young, Pte. William H. Ziegler, Pte. Frederick 



ACCIDENTALLY KILLED 



Condey, Pte. John 
Curry, Pte. Alexander 
Duseigne, Pte. Armand 
Hudson, Pte. Charles 
Lapointe, Pte. Lucien 
Martel, Pte. Maurice 



McDonald, Pte. William 
Myers, Pte. Roy 
Peek, Pte. Richard A. 
Robertson, Pte. Harry 
Robitaille, Pte. Maurice 
Trudel, Pte. Urbain 



DIED or ILLNESS WHILST Pit ISOMER OF WAR 



Coughlin, Pte. James M. 
Denevers, Lance-Corp. Henry 
Maughan, Pte. Edgar E. 



DIED 



Aitcheson, Pte. James 
Anderson, Pte. Daniel H. 
Anderson, Pte. James J. 

Arel, Pte. Odilon 
Ashe, Pte. Ralph 
Beauchemin, Coni. Napoleon 
Benson, Pte. Charles 
Buchanan, Pte. John Alexander 
Callaghan, Pte. John 
Campbell, Pte. William G. 
Chandler, Pte. John K. 
Chittleburgh, Pte. George 
Corkill, Pte. Cecil 
Croteau, Pte. Albert 
Dalton. Pte. Martin 
Dorman, Pte. Wesley H. 
Dupuis, Pte. Weller 
Gray, Pte. Thomas 
Haines, Pte. Harry Albert 
Harding. Pte. Fred 
Harrison, Pte. Robert B. 
Hartley, Pte. William H. 
Hartwick, Pte. Herbert 
Hayes, Pte. Frank 
Ilinton, Pte. Albert 
Ingalls, Pte. Ernest 
Johnstone, Pte. George L. 



Kirtland, Lance-Corp. Allan F 
Laforce, Pte. Paul 
MacDonald, Pte. John 
Malcolm, Pte. Alex. 
Manderson, Pte. Gordon W. 
McDonald, Pte. Ewen 
McGrath, Pte. Edward 
Morrison, Pte. Allan 
Murray, Pte. Albert 
O’Donohue, Pte. John M. 
Patterson, Pte. Leo 
Pichette. Pte. Stanislas 
Quirk, Pte. Patrick J. 

Randall. Corp. Arthur S. 

Reid. Pte. Allan M. 

Robertson, Pte. J. W. Russell 
Ross, Sergt. Samuel S. 
Sarrazin, Pte. Joseph 
Shcnfield, Pte. William 
Smith. Pte. Albert 
Thompson, Pte. Frank 
Twamley, Pte. C. J. 

Cnvin, Pte. Alexander 
Walker, C.S.M. Charles 
Watters, Pte. James 
Williams. Pte. Frank 



APPENDIX B 



The Royal Montreal Regiment 



HONOURS ANI) AWARDS 



14th Battalion, C.E.F. 

THE VICTORIA CROSS 

Lieut.-Col. F. A. C. Scrimger Capt. George Burdon McKean 

(Medical Officer) 

THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER AND BAR 
Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall 
THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER 



Brig.-Gen. R. P. Clark, M.C. 
Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland 
Lieut.-Col. Gault McCombe 

THE MILITA 

Lieut.-Col. Dick Won-all 
Major H. G. Brewer 

THE M 

Lieut.-Col. William J. McAlister 
(Medical Officer) 

Major David W. Clarkson 
Major Bernard F. Davidson 
Major W. J. Holliday 
Major J. E. McKenna 
Major Arthur Plow 
Major C. G. Power 
Capt. W. E. Beaton 
Capt. J. C. Iv. Carson 
Capt. W. S. Collins 
Capt. Edwin Cowen 
Capt. Thomas Hodgson 
Capt. A. T. Howell 
Capt. George B. McKean 
Capt. John Patterson 
Capt. E. G. T. Penny 



Major Robert C. MacKenzie 
Major Alan T. Powell 
Major C. B. Price 

RY CROSS AND BAR 

Capt. J. W. Green 
Capt. B. T. Jackson 

DITARY CROSS 

Capt. Victor Quelch 
Capt. C. E. Tuttle 
Capt. Daniel Woodward 
Lieut. R. J. Allan 
Lieut. Gordon Beattie 
Lieut. Henry' Campbell 
Lieut. Arthur Close 
Lieut. E. C. Gough 
Lieut. Sydney McEwen 
Lieut. A. L. McLean 
Lieut. D. M. McRae 
Lieut. G. B. Murray 
Lieut. B. A. Neville 
Lieut. H. N. Pitcher 
Lieut. J. G. Pullar 
Lieut. H. H. Robinson 
Lieut. R. A. Stewart 



310 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL AND BAR 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major John Foley Sergt. Harry Weeks 



THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL 



Major C. B. Price 

Capt. W. A. Bonshor 

Capt. Edwin Cowen 

Capt. J. W. Green 

Capt. J. M. Stephenson 

Lieut. W. J. Bucklee 

Lieut. Arthur Close 

Lieut. W. G. Hill 

Lieut. F. J. Hurley 

Lieut. Joseph Labelle 

Lieut. C. R. Lennan 

Lieut. A. L. McLean 

Lieut. A. R. Snow 

Reg. Sergt.-Major Wilfred Famell 

A/Reg. Sergt.-Major Arthur Handcock 

Coy. Sergt-Major U. M. Robinson 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major II. C. Byce 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major Gilbert Fairbaim 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major Daniel Thompson 

C.Q.M.S. Percy Little 



C.Q.M.S. B. J. Topham 
Sergt. Bertram Brayton 
Sergt. Frank Burke 
Sergt. A. E. Chatwin 
Sergt. P. II. Crockett 
Sergt. R. H. Drake 
Sergt. John Driscoll 
Sergt. W. R. Duncan 
Sergt. G. W. Logan 
Sergt. Joseph Williams 
Corp. W. P. Adams 
Corp. C. W. McCall 
Lance-Corp. C. A. Elliott 
Pte. Claude Blakeman 
Pte. J. G. Erskine 
Pte. R. II. Jones 
Pte. J. A. MacDonald 
Pte. J. R. Mallette 
Pte. A. B. Smith 
Pte. C. V. Tuttle 



THE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL 

Sergt. W. A. Burrell 
Sergt. W. G. Stevens 
Pte. James Hayward 

THE MILITARY MEDAL AND TWO BARS 
Corp. Frank N. Jerome 
THE MILITARY MEDAL AND BAR 



Capt. Thomas Hodgson 

Lieut. Henry Campbell 

Lieut. Joseph Labelle 

Coy. Sergt.-Major W. M. Miller 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major A. J. Jacques 

Sergt. Robert W. Baum 

Sergt. R. E. Carpenter 

Sergt. Frank Gaudet 

Sergt. J. C. McCowan 

Sergt. George Munro 

Sergt. S. E. Record 

Lancc-Sergt. Michael D’Arcy 



Corp. Hercule Bureau 
Corp. Steven Medai 
Corp. W. S. Whitehead 
Lance-Corp. A. R. Smith 
Lance-Corp. Fred West 
Pte. H. F. Atkin 
Pte. Laurence Christie 
Pte. S. B. Clarke 
Pte. George Lindsay 
Pte. F. II. A. Mundy 
Pte. C. A. Sherman 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



311 



THE MILITARY MKDAL 



Major Arthur Plow 

Capt. George B. McKean 

Lieut. R. J. Allan 

Lieut. W. A. Burrell 

Lieut. G. H. MacDonald 

Lieut. G. A. McLellan 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major Lawrence Driscoll 

A/'Coy. Sergt.-Major Thomas Duffin 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major John Foley 

C.Q.M.S. PL A. Bagshaw 

A/C.Q.M.S. H. F. Michel 

A/C.Q.M.S. William Peat 

Sergt. Herbert Arnold 

Sergt. W. E. Barnaby 

Sergt. George Berryman 

Sergt. W. J. Bone 

Sergt. Frank Burke 

Sergt. A. E. Chatwin 

Sergt. J. W. Chivers 

Sergt. Robert Cowley 

Sergt. A. E. Cowling 

Sergt. William Craib. 

Sergt. John Driscoll 
Sergt. Antonio Dube 
Sergt. E. A. Endersby 
Sergt. Harry Evans 
Sergt. Richard Hill 
Sergt. Michael Johnson 
Sergt. H. T. Jordon 
Sergt. G. J. Kelly 
Sergt. Robert Lewis 
Sergt. G. B. MacDonald 
Sergt. J. A. Magneison 
Sergt. W. C. McArthur 
Sergt. Daniel Moreau 
Sergt. J. R. McKinnon 
Sergt. J. H. O’Brien 
Sergt. Fred Pickup 
Sergt. Herbert. Readshaw 
Sergt. Joseph Rousseau 
Sergt. E. S. Taylor 
Sergt. Henri Thibault 
Sergt. F. J. Thibodeau 
Lance-Sergt. Arthur Dobson 
Lance-Sergt. G. H. McAssey 
Lance-Sergt. Donald McDonald 
A/Sergt. G. B. Barbour 
A/Sergt. It. W. Grey 



A/Sergt. William W’illiamson 

Corp. W. P. Adams 

Corp. E. F. Allan 

Corp. J. D. Anderson 

Corp. J. A. Bertram 

Corp. G. C. Broadbent 

Corp. C. E. Buchanan 

Corp. Thomas Chenard 

Corp. Nicholas Daniels 

Corp. L. D. Dewar 

Corp. W. F. Ede 

Corp. J. A. Grant 

Corp. Donald Hume 

Corp. J. II. Hurst 

Corp. T. M. Kelly 

Corp. H. C. P. Leaman 

Corp. N. W. Lord 

Corp. Jesse E. Muttart 

Corp. P. T. Scott 

Corp. Robert Scott 

Corp. F. T. Shorten 

Corp. C. V. Sifton 

Corp. T. P. Steele 

Corp. A. G. Tilton 

Corp. William Watt 

Lance-Corp. Daniel Black 

Lance-Corp. H. H. Brown 

Lance-Corp. P. H. Casey 

Lance-Corp. C. E. Conrad 

Lance-Corp. James Fotheringham 

Lance-Corp. J. W. Hunt 

Lance-Corp. L. J. Jack 

Lance-Corp. C. C. Jones 

Lance-Corp. John King 

Lance-Corp. John Mclvor 

Lance-Corp. G. C. McKenzie 

Lance-Corp. Clifford Moore 

Lance-Corp. Edwin Newton 

Lance-Corp. Alfred Norton 

Lance-Corp. Alexander Petrie 

Lance-Corp. Donald Smith 

Lance-Corp. Isidore Theriault 

Lance-Corp. John Thompson 

Lance-Corp. J. E. Williams 

A /Corp. W. .J. Francis 

A/Corp. Melvin Wheeler 

Pte. William Allard 

Pte. W. E. Atkins 



312 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



Pte. H. P. Barker 


Pte. Alexander Hunter 


Pte. L. H. Barrett 


Pte. A. B. Imray 


Pte. Alphonse Belanger 


Pte. William Jimmo 


Pte. Reginald Bell 


Pte. G. T. Lapworth 


Pte. J. W. Bews 


Pte. F. S. Lawson 


Pte. J. A. Birds 


Pte. A. D. MacTavish 


Pte. I. IT. Bowden 


Pte. George Mathews 


Pte G. B. Brewer 


Pte. P. A. McAuley (No. 444189) 


Pte. J. T. Burkitt 


Pte. John Melvin 


Pte. J. T. Butler 


Pte. Arthur Mercier 


Pte. A. Cameron 


Pte. James Moonan 


Pte. F. X. Cardinal 


Pte. H. J. Morgan 


Pte. James Chase 


Pte. Walter Morton 


Pte. Walter Clark 


Pte. John Neilan 


Pte. Bartholomeu Coady 


Pte. Louis Plouffe 


Pte. M. H. Conolly 


Pte. F. A. Porter 


Pte. David Crombie 


Pte. W. M. Potter 


Pte. Leonard Darbyson 


Pte. B. R. Racey 


Pte. Christopher Davis 


Pte. H. S. Record 


Pte. V. S. B. Dawkes 


Pte. Robert Renton 


Pte. Raymond Duval 


Pte. Robert Roberts 


Pte. J. G. Erskine 


Pte. G. A. Rogers 


Pte. J. N. Gill 


Pte. P. G. Rumball 


Pte. S. H. Graham 


Pte. C. M. Sherritt 


Pte. F. B. Groat 


Pte. G. C. Smith 


Pte. A. J. Grosfils 


Pte. F. R. Sparrow 


Pte. Walter Halbert 


Pte. William Stokes 


Pte. Frank Hannon 


Pte. S. J. Tatton 


Pte. G. A. Hardiman 


Pte. E. A. Walsh 


Pte. W. F. Harley 


Pte. A. T. West 


MENTIONED IN 


DESPATCHES FOUR TIMES 


Lieut. -Col. Gault McCombe 


MKNTIOXKI) 


IN DESPATCHES TWICE 


Lieut. 


,-Col. Dick Worrall 


Major R. C MacKenzie 


Major A. T. Powell 


MKNTIOXKI) IN DESPATCHES 


Brig.-Gcn. R. P. Clark, M.C. 


Lieut. E. C. Gough 


Brig.-Gen. F. S. Meighen 


Lieut. J. G. Pullar 


Lieut.-Col. W. W. Borland 


Lieut. H. B. Svmonds 


Major C. B. Price 


Lieut. T. T. Wilson 


Capt. W. A. Bonshor 


A/Reg. Sergt.-Major Arthur Handcock 


Capt. Thomas G. Beagley 


R.Q.M.S. Harry Reid 


Capt. Edwin Cowen 


A/Coy. Sergt.-Major A. E. Hawkins 


Capt. Benn T. Jackson 


Sergt. Henry Chanu 


Capt. J. M. Mac Adams 


Sergt. T. P. Creagh 


Capt. J. M. Stephenson 


Sergt. J. W. Yates 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



313 



BROUGHT TO THE NOTICE OF THE SECRETARY OF 
STATE FOR WAR 

Sergt. A. L. Moodie 



FOREIGN DECORATIONS 

MEDAILLE MI BIT AIRE (French) 

Capt. J. M. Stephenson 

Lieut. F. J. Hurley 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major H. C. Byee 



CROIX DE GUERRE (French) 

Capt. J. M. MacAdams 

LEGION D'HONNECR — CROIX DE CHEVALIER (French) 
Lieut. Henri Quintal 



CROIX DE GUERRE (Belgian) 

A/Coy. Sergt.-Major John Foley Lance-Corp. Bruce Cooper 

Sergt. Henry Chanu Pte. Arthur H. Comey 



MEDAL OF ST. GEORGE — THIRD CLASS (Russian) 
Pte. Armand Barrette 



CROSS OF ST. GEORGE — FOURTH CLASS (Russia’- 



Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall 



Pte. John J. Montague 



APPENDIX G 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



(Granted to officers and men of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, 
following promotion or transfer to other units) : 

COMPANION OF THE ORDER OF ST. MICHAEL AND ST. GEORGE 

Brig.-Gen. R. P. Clark, D.S.O., M.C. Brig.-Gen. F. S. Meighen 

OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE 

Lieut. -Col. P. R. Hanson Major R. S. Smith 

Lieut.-Col. T. R. MacKenzie Major F. W. Utton 



THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER 



Lieut.-Col. Henri DesRosiers 



Lieut.-Col. R. W. Frost 



Major G. E. Leighton 



THE DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS AND BAR 



Capt. C. F. Falkenberg 



THE MILITARY CROSS 



Major W. D. Adams 
Major V. E. Duclos 
Major W. M. Pearce 



Major R. H. Thomas (C.A.M.C.) 



Major C. F. C. Porteous 



Capt. R. G. Marion 
Capt. J. K. Nesbitt 
Lieut. A. F. Shaw 



THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL AND BAR 



Sergt. George L. Butterfield 



THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL 



Reg. Sergt.-Major William Wallis 
Coy. Sergt.-Major John 11. Patton 
Sergt. Leonard D. Johnson 



Sergt. Edward C. Moorby 
Lance-Sergt. Alexander Ferme 
Corp. Thomas G. Clarke 



THE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL 



R.Q.M.S. R. L. Bagshaw, M.M. 
R.Q.M.S. T. J. Kirkwood 
R.Q.M.S. George Tod 



A/Sergt -Major A. P. Thwaites 
C.Q.M.S. J. S. Tracey 
Sergt. J. H. Harrison 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



315 



THE MILITARY MEDAI. 



Lieut. William Bailey 

Lieut. R. G. H. W. MacCarthy 

Lieut. G. W. Morrison 

Coy. Sergt.-Major Andrew Pringle 

Sergt. Gustaf Anderson 

Sergt. W. E. Baker 

Sergt. Ernest Van Alstyne 

A/Sergt. R. C. Bailey 

Corp. C. J. Nicholls 

Corp. James Post 



A/Corp. Milton Hanlan 
Gunner Lester Beck 
Pte. J. M. Boucher 
Pte. C. F. Kinghom 
Pte. J. H. Mason 
Pte. Henry Moran 
Driver John Morrison 
Pte. Arnold Smith 
Pte. Joseph Thivierge 



MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES FOUR TIMES 



Brig.-Gen. R. P. Clark, C.M.G., D.S.O, M.C. 

MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES TWICE 



Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland, D.S.O. Major F. W. Utton, O.B.E. 
Major W. M. Pearce, M.C. Capt. Frank Higginson 



MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES 



Brig.-Gen. F. S. Meighen. C.M.G. 
Lieut.-Col. A. S. English 
Lieut.-Col. Henri DesRosiers, D.S.O. 
Lieut.-Col. R. W. Frost 
Major W. D. Adams, M.C. 

Major G. E. Leighton, D.S.O. 



Major R. S. Smith, O.B.E. 
Capt. S. G. Dixon 
Capt. R. C. Lalor 
Capt. G. F. Mason 
Sergt. H. J. Goskar 



BROUGHT TO THE NOTICE OF TIIE SECRETARY OF 
STATE FOR WAR TWICE 



Lieut.-Col. F. W. Fisher Major Rudolphe DeSerres 

Major R. H. Thomas, M.C. (C.A.M.C.) 

BROUGHT TO THE NOTICE OF THE SECRETARY OF 
, STATE FOR WAR 

Capt. F. W. Lock 
Capt. I. G. Robertson 
Capt. R. deV. Terroux 
Lieut. H. S. Duncan 
Lieut. E. C. Morris 
Lieut. G. F. Skelton 
A/R.S.M. R. J. Boyd 
A/R.S.M. T. J. Wallis 
A/Sergt.-Major A. P. Thwaites 
A/Sergt. Pierre Klein 



Brig.-Gen. R. P. Clark, C.M.G., D.S.O., 
M.C. 

Brig.-Gen. F. S. Meighen, C.M.G. 
Lieut.-Col. W. W. Burland, D.S.O. 
Lieut.-Col. Henri DesRosiers, D.S.O. 
Lieut.-Col. R. W. Frost, D.S.O. 
Lieut.-Col. P. R. Hanson, O.B.E. 
Lieut.-Col. T. R. MacKenzie, O.B.E. 
Major J. F. Adams 
Major W. P. Oram 



316 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



FOREIGN DECORATIONS 

LEGION D IIONNEUR— CROIX DE CHEVALIER (French) 
Major Hercule Barre 

CROIX DE GUERRE — AVEC ETOILE EN BRONZE (French) 

Sergt.. John II. Skinner 

CROIX I)E GUERRE (French) 

Pte. Frejus St. Hilaire 

CROIX DE GUERRE (Belgian) 

Major G. E. Leighton, D.S.O. Capt. G. F. Mason 

Major R. S. Smith, O.B.E. Pte. James Watson 

CROIX DE GUERRE (Czeeho-Slovakian Republic) 

Major J. F. Adams 



APPENDIX D 



COMMISSIONS 



The following officers of the 14th Battalion. Koyal Montreal Regiment, 
were commissioned after service in the Battalion ranks. 



Lieut.-Col. Dick Worrall, D.S.O., M.C. 
Major Gordon Ernest Leighton, D.S.O. 
Major Robert C. MacKenzie, D.S.O. 
Major Charles Basil Price, D.S.O., 
D.C.M. 

A/Major Hugh Graham Brewer, M.C. 
A Major Richard Henry Hood 
A/Major Arthur Plow, M.C., M.M. 
Capt. Thomas G. Beagley 
Capt. William A. Bonshor, D.C.M. 
Capt. John W. Green, M.C.. D.C.M. 
Capt. Alfred T. Howell, M.C. 

Capt. George B. McKean, V.C., M.C., 
M.M. 

Capt. John K. Nesbitt, M.C. 

Capt. John Patterson, M.C. 

Capt. Victor Quelch, M.C. 

Capt. John Rex Weaver 
A/Capt. Edwin Cowen, M.C., D.C.M. 
A/Capt. Stanley Humphries 
A/Capt. Benn T. Jackson, M.C. 
A/Capt. Archibald L. McLean, M.C., 
D.C.M. 

A/Capt. John Myhoe Stephenson, 
D.C.M. 

A/Capt. Christopher H. Sullivan 
A/Capt. Daniel Woodward, M.C. 

Lieut. Edward George Adams 
Lieut. Robert J. Allan, M.C., M.M. 
Lieut. Harry Andrews 
Lieut. Harold Armstrong 
Lieut. Aubrey Durant Brewer 
Lieut. Henry Campbell, M.C., M.M. 
Lieut. Charles P. R. Charlton 



Lieut. Philippe Chevalier 

Lieut. Arthur Close, M.C., D.C.M. 

Lieut. Roy Ward Collver 

Lieut. Percy Coombes 

Lieut. Walter J. Cronk 

Lieut. Henry A. Davin 

Lieut. Ellis Evans 

Lieut. Rae H. Filshill 

Lieut. Joseph A. Gervais 

Lieut. Ernest C. Gough, M.C. 

Lieut. Frank Higginson 

Lieut. Thomas Hodgson, M.C., M.M. 

Lieut. John Howe 

Lieut. Francis J. Hurley, D.C.M. 

Lieut. William Kennedy 

Lieut. Richard M. Lawton 

Lieut. Reno Gustave Maiion, M.C. 

Lieut. Hugh A. Mclnnes 

Lieut. George A. McLellan, M.M. 

Lieut. Norman McLeod 

Lieut. Frank Kenny Neilson 

Lieut. Charles L. O’Brien 

Lieut. Francis Owen 

Lieut. Alfred D. C. Parnell 

Lieut. Hubert N. Pitcher, M.C. 

Lieut. James G. Pullar, M.C. 

Lieut. Volney G. Rexford 
Lieut. Albert Edward Scott 
Lieut. Wylie Sharp 
Lieut. Ray A. Stewart, M.C. 

Lieut. Herbert Boyd Symonds 
Lieut. James G. A. Thatcher 
Lieut. Donald Urquhart 
Lieut. Harry Id. Whiteman 



Tlie following non-commissioned officers and men of the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, were granted commissions in 
units of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. 



Bacque, Lance-Corp. Frederick 
Bailey, Corp. William, M.M. 



(213th Battalion) 

(Canadian Machine Gun Corps) 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



318 



Bucklee, Sergt. William J., D.C.M. 
Burrell, Sergt. William A., M.M. 

Chevalier, Pte. Pierre 
Clarke, Pte. Melville R. 

Cleghom, Pte. Andrew G. 

Crosier, Pte. Charles 

Dextrase, Pte. Rosario 
Diver, Lance-Corp. John W. 

Duncan, R.Q.M.S. Hugh St. C. 

Kdgell, Corp. Geoffery Stephen 

Ferguson, Sergt. William M. 

Fomeri, Pte. David A. 

Gauthier, Sergt. Origene 
Giroux, Corp. Joseph A. 

Glanvill, Pte. Mark 

Henry, Pte. Reginald B. 

Hill, Lance-Corp. William G., D.C.M. 
Howe, Lance-Corp. James E. 

Jackson, Pte. William H. 

Jeffery, Pte. Edward 

Labelle, Sergt. Joseph, D.C.M., M.M. 
Lang, C.S.M. Daniel G. G. 

Leigh, Pte. Alfred 

Lennan, Sergt. Colin It., D.C.M. 

Lalor, Pte. Robert C. 

Lock, Corp. Frederick W. 

MacCarthv, Pte. It. G. H. W., M.M. 
MacDonald, Sergt. George H., M.M. 
Mason, Pte. George Francis 
McConnell, Pte. Russell W. 
McCullcy, Pte. Clarence C. 

Mitchell, Pte. Ernest S. 

Morgan, Pte. Edward F. 

Morrison, Corp. George W., M.M. 
Murray, Pte. Robert McL. 

Oram, Sergt. William P. 

Owens, I’tc. Owen N. II. 



(Quebec Regiment) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(23rd Reserve and 22nd Battalions) 
(130th Battalion) 

(Canadian Army Service Corps) 

(139th Battalion) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(23rd Reserve Battalion) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Reserve Units) 

(23rd Reserve and 73rd Battalions) 

(23rd Reserve Battalion) 

(10th Reserve Battalion) 

(Reserve Units and 85th Battalion) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Hon. Lieut. Canadian Army Pay 
Corps) 

(17th Reserve and 16th Battalions) 

(Reserve Units) 

(13th Reserve Battalion) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(Reserve Units and Khaki University) 
(G.H.Q. 3rd Echelon) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Canadian Machine Gun Corps) 
(Quebec Regiment) 

(17th Res., 25th, and 16th Battalions) 
(Quebec Regiment) 

(145th Battalion) 

(Reserve Units) 

(23rd Reserve Battalion) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Hon. Major Pay Office, London and 
Ottawa) 

(Quebec Regiment) 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



319 



Pain, Lance-Sergt. Alexander 

Radcliffe, Sergt. George H. 

Roche, Pte. Thomas J. 

Rooke, C.S.M. James A. 

Sanders, Pte. Lionel A. 

Shaw, Pte. Arthur F. 

Snow, Sergt. Augustus R., D.C.M. 
Southin, Sergt. John William 
Stewart, Pte. Robert H. 

Vining, Corp. John G. 

Waite, Pte. Bertram E. 

Whelan, Sergt. Joseph E. 

Wilson, Sergt. Thomas T. 

Young, Sergt. Ralph Stuart 



(Canadian Army Pay Corps) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(87th Battalion, Can. Gren. Guards) 

(242nd Battalion) 

(Canadian Engineers) 

(23rd Reserve Battalion) 

(143rd and 29th Battalions) 

(Reserve Units) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(Manitoba Regiment) 

(Quebec Regiment) 

(Reserve Units) 

(23rd Reserve Battalion) 



The following non -commissioned officers and men of the 14th Battalion, 
Royal Montreal Regiment, were granted commissions 
in the Imperial Army. 



Barltrop, Lance-Corp. Arthur H. 
Bishop, Pte. Earl H. 

Bullick, Pte. Andrew 
Bums, Pte. William B. 

Butcher, Sergt. Herbert Cecil 
Cameron, Pte. Francis B. 

Crowther, Pte. Ronald 
Dashwood, Pte. Henry Godfrey 
Davidson, Lance-Corp. Ronald H. 

Dion, Pte. Julien 
Grant, Pte. John W. 

Grummitt, Pte. Joseph R. 

Henry, Pte. Alfred S. 

Hopkins, Pte. Arthur E. 

Johnston, Pte. Alexander L. 

Jones, Pte. Richard A. 

Laing, Pte. Harold J. G. (Indian Army) 



Lane, Pte. Charles F. 

Malone, Pte. Archie D. 

O’Dell, Pte. Oliver H. C. 
Pickthall, Pte. William R. 

Rait, Corp. James M. 
Robertson, Pte. Robert Ward S. 
Russell, Pte. John Joseph 
Savage, Pte. Ivan Burke 
Schultz, Pte. Charles F. 

Sharkie, Pte. Frederick W. 
Slubicki, Pte. John 
Taylor, Pte. Eric E. H. 
Townsend, Pte. Hugh Vere 
Turner, Pte. Arthur R. 

Van Someren, Pte. Eric Cecil 
Wingard, Pte. Hume S. 



APPENDIX E 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 

(14th BATTALION, C.E.F.) 



ITINERARY 



1914 

August 24 — Left Montreal. (By train.) 

25 — Arrived Valcartier. 

September 30 — Sailed from Quebec (on S.S. Alaunia and S.S. Andania ) . 

October 3 — Sailed from Gaspe Basin. 

14 — Arrived Devonport, England. 

15 — Alaunia Section disembarked (6.30 p.m.). Marched to 

Plymouth Station. 

16 — Alaunia Section entrained (12.45 a.m.). Reached Pat- 

ney Station (dawn). Marched to Camp at West- 
Down South. 

18 — Andania Section disembarked and entrained at Ply- 

mouth Station. 

19 — Andania Section arrived Patney Station. Marched to 

Camp at West Down South. 

December 21 — Moved to huts at Lark Hill. 



1915 



February 10 — Left Lark Hill (9 p.m.). Entrained at Amesbury. 

11 — Arrived Avonmouth. Embarked Transport Austra- 

lind. 

12 — Sailed from Avonmouth. 

15 — Arrived St. Nazaire, France. 



ITINERARY 



321 



February 16 — Left St. Nazaire by train (7 a.m.). 

18 — Arrived Hazebrouck (6 a. in.). Marched to Fletre. 
23 — Left Fletre (8 a.m.). Marched to Armentieres. 
24/28 — Armentieres. Platoons and H.Q. into Front Line. 



March 2 — Marched to Bac St. Maur. 

3 — Into Front Line. (Fleurbaix.) 

6 — Relieved. To Rue du Quesne. (Brig. Res.) 

9 — Into Front Line. Rue Petillon. (Fleurbaix.) 

13 — Relieved. To Rue du Quesne. 

17— Into Front Line. Rue Petillon. (Fleurbaix.) 

20 — Relieved. To Rue du Quesne. 

24 — Into Front Line. Rue Petillon. (Fleurbaix.) 

26 — Relieved. To Estaires. (Rest Billets.) 

April 7 — Marched to Cassel. 

15 — To Steenvoorde. 

16 — Bus to Poperinghe. Into Front Line. (St. Julien.) 

21 — Relieved. To St. Julien and St. Jean. 

THE BATTLES OF YPRES, 1915. (22 April- 

3 May.) (See text.) 

May 1 — In trenches on Yser Canal. 

3 — Relieved. To Transport Lines near Vlamertinghe 

(dawn) . 

4- — Marched to near Bailleul. (Arriving at dawn, 

May 5.) 

14 — Marched to near Robecq. (Arriving 6.30 a.in., 

May 15.) 

17 — Marched to trenches at Le Touret. Later back to 

Essars. 

18 — Forward to trenches at Le Touret. Later forward 

to Indian Village. 

BATTLE OF FESTUBERT. (19-22 May.) (See 
text.) 

22 — Relieved. To le Hamel. 

26 — Into the trenches. Festubert. 

29 — Relieved. To Rue de 1’Epinette. (Reserve.) 

31 — To Oblinghem. (Rest Billets.) 



322 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



June 



July 



August 



September 



October 



6 — Into the Line. (Givenchy.) 

10 — Relieved. To Bethune. 

19 — To Reserve Billets. (Beuvry.) 

22 — Into the Line. (Givenchy B3.) 

24 — Relieved. To Reserve Billets. (Beuvry.) 

26 — To Neuf Berquin. (Arriving 4 a.m., June 27.) 

27 — To Outersteene. 

29 — To Nouveau Monde. 

30 — To la Creche. 



5 — Into the Line. (Ploegsteert.) 

9 — Relieved. To the Piggeries. 

14 — Into the line. (Ploegsteert.) 

18 — Relieved. One-half Battalion to Defended Locality 
N. of Strand, one-half Battalion to billets. (La 
Grande Munque Farm.) 

21 — To Kortepyp Huts (near Neuve Eglise). (Div. Res.) 
29 — Into the Line. (Ploegsteert.) 



2 — Relieved. To the Piggeries. 

6 — Forward to Res. Line for Trenches 135-138. 
10 — Relieved. To billets. (Div. Res.) 

19 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-137.) 

23 — Relieved. To Courte Dreve Farm. 

29 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-137.) 



4 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 

8 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-137.) 

13 — Relieved. To Courte Dreve Farm. (Brig. Res.) 

17 — To Kortepyp Huts and Westhof Farm. 

21 — To Locre. 

24 — Into the Line. (Lindenhoek.) 

25 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts and Westhof Farm. 

(Arriving 5 a.m., September 26th.) 

26 — Into the Line. (Trenches 113-120.) 

3 — Relieved. To Aldershot Camp (near Neuve Eglise). 

4 — To Courte Dreve Farm. (Brig. Res.) 

8 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-137.) 



ITINERARY 



October 



November 



December 



J anuarv 



February 



March 



323 



14 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 

20 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-138.) 

25 — Relieved. To Courte Dreve Farm. (Brig. Res.) 
30 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-138.) 

4 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 

9 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-138.) 

14 — Relieved. To Courte Dreve Farm. (Brig. Res.) 

15 — To Red Lodge. (Ploegsteert Wood.) 

18 — Into the Line. (Trenches 135-138.) 

22 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 

26 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

30 — Relieved. To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

4 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

8 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 

12 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

16 — Relieved. To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

20 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

24 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 

29 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 



1916 

3 — Relieved. To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

7 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

11 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 
15 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

19 — Relieved. To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

23 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

27 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 
31 — To Meteren. (Corps Res.) 

20 — To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

21 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

27 — Relieved. To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

4 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

10 — Relieved. To Kortepyp Huts. (Div. Res.) 



324 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



March 17 — Into the Line. (Trenches 136-141.) 

24 — Relieved. To Red Lodge. (Brig. Res.) 

25 — To Rest Area No. 2. (Bailleul.) 

28 — To Canada Huts. (Near Ouderdom.) 

29 — To Swan Chateau (south of Kruisstraat) . (Brig. 

Res.) 

April 3 — Into the Line. (H.Q. at “ The Dump ”.) 

8 — Relieved. To Canada Huts. (Div. Res.) 

15 — To Dickebusch Huts. (Brig. Res ) 

23 — Into the Line. (The Bluff.) 

May 1 — Relieved. To Hop Factory, Poperinghe. (Div. Res.) 

3— Moved to Rue de Boeschepe. 

9 — To Swan Chateau. (Brig. Sup.) 

17 — Into the Line. Mount Sorrel. 

25 — Relieved. To Dominion Lines (near Ouderdom). 
(Div. Res.) 

June 1 — Dominion Lines. (Brig. Res.) 

BATTLE OF MOUNT SORREL. (2-3 June.) (See 
text.) 

4 — To Dominion Lines. (Brig. Res.) 

5 — To Patricia Lines (north of Wippenhoek). (Div. 

Res.) 

12 — To “ D ” Camp (S.W. of Vlamertinghe) . (Brig. Res.) 
14 — To Swan Chateau. (Brig. Sup.) 

19 — Bus to Kenora Camp (north of Reninghelst) . (Div. 
Res.) 

24- — Into the Line. Battersea Farm (S.E. of Zillebeke). 
29 — Relieved. To Dominion Lines. (Brig. Res.) 

July 4 — To Patricia Lines. (Div. Res.) 

9 — Into the Line. Bluff and Railway Cutting. 

14 — Relieved. To Railway Dugouts, etc. (Ypres). (Brig. 
Sup.) 

19 — To Dickebusch Huts. (Brig. Res.) 

21 — To Patricia Lines. (Div. Res.) 

31 — Into the Line. Verbrandenmolen Sector. 



ITINERARY 



325 



August 6 — Relieved. To Swan Chateau. (Brig. Sup.) 

9 — To Victoria Lines (S.W. of Reninghelst) . 

11 — Marched to Steenvoorde Area. 

12 — Marched to Noordpeene Area. 

13 — Marched to 2nd Army Training Area (N.W. of St. 

Omer) . 

27 — Marched to St. Omer Station. Entrained (9.30 p.m.). 

28 — Arrived Conteville (5.45 a.m.). Marched to Coulon- 

villers. 

29 — Marched to Pernois. 

30 — Marched to la Vicogne. 

31 — Marched to Vadencourt. 

THE BATTLES OF THE SOMME, 1916. 

Battle of Thiepval Ridge (26/28 September). 
September 1 — Marched to Brickfields, Albert. 

2 — -Marched to Albert. (Rue Hurtu.) 

3— To Tara Hill. (Div. Res.) 

5— To Chalk Pits. (Brig. Res.) 

6/8 — Operations at Mouquet Farm. (See text.) 

9 — To Warloy. 

10 — Marched to Herrissart. 

11 — Marched to Montrelet. 

13/14 — Battalion in manoeuvres. 

15 — Marched to la Vicogne. 

16 — Marched to Vadencourt. 

18 — Marched to Brickfields, Albert. 

23 — Forward into Brigade Support. 

24/28 — Battalion in Attack, Kenora Trench. (See text.) 
28 — To billets in Albert. (Arriving at dawn.) 

28 — Marched to Warloy. (4 p.m.) 

Battle of the Ancre Heights (6/10 and 14/15 
October). 

October 5 — Marched to Albert. 

6 — Forward into Brigade Support. 

8 — Forward to Sugar and Cable Trenches. (Close Sup- 
port.) 

10 — Relieved. To Brickfields, Albert. 

13 — To Brigade Reserve. 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



326 

October 15 — To Brickfields, Albert. 

16 — Marched to Warloy. 

17 — Marched to Val de Maison. 

18 — Marched to Pernois. 

20 — Marched to Prouville. 

21 — Marched to Boffles and Fortel. 

22 — Marched to Petit Houvin and La Mont Joie Farm. 

23 — Marched to Ternas. 

24 — Marched to Magnicourt. 

26 — Marched to Estree Cauchie. 

27 — Marched to Berthonval Area. (Brig. Res.) 

November 3 — Into the Line. Berthonval Sector. (Left Sub- 

Section.) 

10— Relieved. To Estree Cauchie. (Div. Res.) 

18 — Into the Line. Carency Sector. (Right Sub- 

Section.) 

22 — Relieved. To Villers-au-Bois. (Brig. Res.) 

26 — Into the Line. Carency Sector. (Right Sub- 

Section.) 

30 — Relieved. To Hospital Corner. (Brig. Sup.) 

December 5 — To Estree Cauchie. (Div. Res.) 

12 — Into the Line. Berthonval Sector. (Left Sub- 

Section.) 

16 — Relieved. To Berthonval Wood. (Brig. Res.) 

21 — To Estree Cauchie. (Div. Res.) 

22 — To Bruay. (Rest Billets.) 

1917 

January 17 — To Bully Grenay. 

18 — Into the Line. Calonne Sector. (Left Sub-Section.) 

25— Relieved. To Calonne Village. (Brig. Sup.) 

30 — Into the Line. Calonne Sector. (Left Sub-Section.) 

February 5 — Relieved. To Bully Grenay. (Brig. Res.) 

11 — Into the Line. Calonne Sector. (Left Sub-Section.) 

17 — Relieved. To Calonne Village. (Brig. Sup.) 

22 — Into the Line. Calonne Sector. (Left Sub-Section.) 



ITINERARY 



327 



March 



April 



May 



June 



5 — Relieved. To Haillicourt. (Brig. Res.) 

8 — Marched to Cambligneul. 

9 — Marched to Bois des Alleux. (Div. Res.) 

18 — To Maison Blanche. (Brig. Res.) 

24 — Into the Line. Thelus Sector. 

29 — Relieved. To le Pendu Huts. (Div. Res.) 

5 — To Maison Blanche. (Div. Res.) 

6 — Into the Line. Thelus Sector. 

BATTLE OF VIMY RIDGE (9/14 April). (See 
text.) 

10 — To Vase Trench. (Reserve.) 

14 — Moved to Wittelsbacher Trench. 

15 — To Bois de la Ville. 

18 — Into the Front Line. Arleux Sector. (Left Sub- 
Section.) 

22 — Relieved. To Maison Blanche South Camp. (Tents.) 
26— To Fond du Vase. (Tents.) 

BATTLE OF ARLEUX (28/29 April). 

28— Forward into Brigade Support. (Bois Carre.) 

29 — Move to Support Position to left of Brigade Sup- 

port. (Arleux Sector.) 

1 — Relieved. To Island Traverse Trench. (Brig. Res.) 

2 — Forward into Brigade Support. 

THIRD BATTLE OF THE SCARPE, 1917. (Cap- 
ture of Fresnoy, 3/4 May.) 

4 — To Brunehaut Farm. (Div. Res.) 

6 — Marched to Estree Cauchie. (Corps. Res.) 

31 — To Camp (S.E. of Berthonval Farm). 

1 — To Paynesley Area. (Div. Sup.) To S. of Vimy 
Station at night. (Brig. Res.) 

5 — Into the Line. Quebec Trench. 

10 — Relieved. To Thelus Cave. (Brig. Sup.) 

17 — To Mont St. Eloy. Winnipeg Huts. (Div. Res.) 

25 — To Thelus Cave. (Brig. Sup.) 

26 — Forward to Close Support. 



.‘{28 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



July 4 — Into the Line. Acheville Sector. 

32 — Relieved. To Paynesley Area. (Brig. Sup.) 

13 — To Fraser Camp. (Div. Res.) 

14 — Marched to Gauchin Legal. 

17 — Marched to Braquemont. 

22 — Marched to Ruitz. 

August 3 — Marched to Mazingarbe. (Brig. Res.) 

5 — Into the Line. Loos Sector. 

9 — Relieved. To Noeux les Mines. (Div. Res.) 

10 — Marched to Fosse 7, Barlin. (Div. Res.) 

13 — Marched to Mazingarbe. (Brig. Res.) 

14 — Into the Line. Hill 70 Sector. 

BATTLE OF HILL 70 (15/20 August). 

20 — Relieved (2.15 a.m.). To Les Brebis. (Brig. Res.) 

20 — Marched to Fosse 7, Barlin. (Div. Res.) 

21 — Marched to Maries les Mines. (Corps Res.) 

September 2 — Marched to Bouvigny Huts. (Div. Res.) 

3 — To Cite St. Pierre. (Brig. Res.) 

4 — Into the Line. 

10 — Relieved. To Marqueffles Farm. (Div. Res.) 

16 — Forward to Cite St. Pierre. (Brig. Res.) 

22 — To Marqueffles Farm. (Div. Res.) 

23 — To Estree Cauchie. (Corps Res.) 

October 4 — Marched to Gouy Servins. 

5 — To Zouave Valley. (Brig. Res.) Into the Line, 

Avion. 

10 — Relieved. To Tottenham Huts. (Brig. Res.) 

13 — Marched to Gauchin Legal. 

20 — Marched to Bruay. 

21 — Marched to Ham-en-Artois. 

22 — Marched to Thiennes. 

23 — Marched to Staple. 

31 — Train to Ebblinghem. Marched to St. Jean and 
Wieltje. Two companies forward into support. 

SECOND BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE (31 

October/10 November). 



ITINERARY 



329 



November 



December 



January 



February 



March 



1 — Forward to Capricorn Keep. (Brig. Sup.) 

2 — Into the Front Line. 

4 — Relieved. To Wieltje. (Brig. Res.) 

7 — Forward to Bellevue Spur. (Brig. Sup.) 

9 — Relieved. To Capricorn Keep. (Brig. Res.) 

10 — To Camp “ C ”, Wieltje. 

11— To Ypres. Train to Brandhoek Area. 

12 — Bus to Merville. 

13 — Bus to Bethune. 

14 — Bus to Hersin Coupigny Area. 

17 — Marched to Marqueffles Farm. 

19 — Marched to Alberta Camp. (Brig. Res.) 

25 — Into the Line. Avion Sector. 



3 — Relieved. To La Coulotte. Train to Chateau de 
la Haie. To Vancouver Camp. (Div. Res.) 
11— Forward into Support. Lens Sector. Lievin. 

15 — Into the Line. Moulin Sector. 

19 — Relieved. One-half Battalion in Support (Lievin) 
and one-half in Brig. Res. (Souchez Huts). 

23 — Battalion to St. Lawrence Camp. (Div. Res.) 



1918 



7 — To Reserve Area. Houdain. 

23 — Marched to Bully Grenay. (Div. Res.) 
31 — Into the Line. Hill 70 Sector. 



7 — Relieved. To Village Line. (Brig. Res.) 
16 — To Bully Grenay. (Div. Res.) 

24 — Into the Line. St. Emile Section. 



6 — Relieved. To Cite St. Pierre. (Brig. Sup.) 

13 — To Bois de Froissart. (Corps Res.) 

20 — Marched to Bully Grenay. (Div. Sup.) 

23 — At Bully Grenay. (Army Res.) 

27 — Marched to Chateau de la Haie. Marched (11.45 
p.m.) to embussing point. 



330 

March 

April 



May 

June 

July 

August 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 

28 — Bus (3.20 a.m.) to Marieux. March to Famechon. 
Bus (4.00 p.m.) to Agnez-les-Duisans. 

29 — Forward (3.55 a.m.) to Ronville (S. of Arras). (Brig. 

Sup.) 

5 — Into the Line. Telegraph Hill. 

8 — Relieved. To Agny. Train to Bemeville. Bus to 
Feuehy-Fampoux Sector. (Support.) 

11 — Into the Line. Feuehy-Fampoux Sector. 

13 — Relieved. To Aubrey Camp. (Corps Res.) 

21 — Into the Line. Gavrelle Sector. 

28 — Relieved. To Gavrelle Section (Brig. Res.) 



6 — To “ Y ” Huts. Etrun. (Corps Res.) 
19 — To Manin. (Army Special Res.) 
21/22 — Battalion in manoeuvres. 

25 — To Ostreville. (Army Special Res.) 



30 — Marched to Frevillers. (Army Special Res.) 



1 — Battalion to Corps Sports. Tinques. 

(i — Battalion to Highland Gathering. Tinques. 
13 — Marched to Anzin St. Aubin. (Div. Res.) 
18 — Into the Line. Telegraph Hill. 

26 — Relieved. To Achicourt. (Div. Res.) 

31 — To Fosseux (3 a.m.). 



3 — Bus to Frevent (9 p.m.). 

4 — Train to Vieux - Rouen - sur - Bresle. Marched to 

Avcsne. 

5 — Bus (all night) to near Amiens. 

6 — Marched to Boves. 

7 — Forward to N. of Gentelles (12.15 a.m.). Forward 

at dusk to Assembly Positions. 

THE BATTLE OF AMIENS (8/11 August). (See 
text.) 

9 — Marched to Cayeux. Forward to Assembly Posi- 
tions. Forward in Support. 



ITINERARY 



331 



August 12 — To Beaufort Area. (Reserve.) 

ACTIONS AROUND DAMERY (15 17 August). 

15 — To Parvillers Sector. 

21 — To Beaufort Area. 

23 — To Hangard Wood. 

24 — Marched to Boves. 

25 — Marched to Saleux (12 p.m.). 

BATTLE OF THE SCARPE, 1918. (Capture of 
Monchy le Preux, 26/30 August.) 

26— Train to Aubigny. Bus to Dainville. Marched to 

near Arras. 

27 — To near Tilloy Wood. 

28 — Into the Line (East of Arras). 

September 1— BATTALION IN ATTACK (Crow’s Nest Opera- 
tion). 

BATTLE OF THE DROCOURT-QUEANT LINE 

(2/3 September). (See text.) 

3 — Moved back to Drocourt-Queant Line. 

4 — Marched to Cherisy. Bus to Warlus. Marched to 

Berneville. 

19 — To old trenches near Telegraph Hill. 

24 — Marched to Arras to entrain. 

25 — Train to Bullecourt. Marched to Hendecourt. For- 

ward to Buissy Switch. 

26. — Forward to Assembly Positions. 

27— BATTLE OF THE CANAL DU NORI). (Capture 
of Bourlon Wood, 27 September/1 October). (See 
text.) 

30 — Forward to N. of Bourlon. Forward to Assembly 
Positions (11.45 p.m.). 

October 1— BATTALION IN ATTACK (5 a.m.). Relieved at 

night and to Marquion. (Rest Billets.) 

5 — March to Vis-en-Artois. 

6 — Forward to Monchy le Preux Area. (Brig. Res.) 



THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 



332 



October 9 — Forward 2,000 yards. (Brig. Res.) 

12 — Forward (4 a.m.) to near Sailly-en-Ostrevent. Re- 

lieved and to S. of Eterpigny. 

18 — Marched to Goeulzin (7 a.m.). Marched to Erchin 

(4.30 p.m.). 

19 — Forward to E. of Helesmes. 

20 — Forward to E. of Wallers. 

21 — Forward to Raismes. 

22 — Relieved. To Fenain. 

November 11— THE ARMISTICE. 

13 — Marched to la Sentinelle (19 kilometres). 

14 — Marched to Elouges (25 kilometres). 

15 — Marched to Quaregnon (11 kilometres). 

18 — Marched to Hubermont and Neufvilles (27 kilome- 
tres. 

21 — Marched to Braine le Comte (8% kilometres). 

24 — Marched to Ways (25)4 kilometres). 

25 — Marched to Cortil Noirmont (16 kilometres). 

27 — Marched to Leuze (24 kilometres). 

28 — Marched to Petit Waret (14 kilometres). 

30 — Marched to Belle Maison (20 kilometres). 

December 2 — Marched to Bonsin (20(4 kilometres). 

4 — Marched to Bra (42)4 kilometres). 

6 — Marched to Neuville (19 kilometres). 

7— ACROSS THE GERMAN BORDER. To Deiden- 

bcrg and neighbouring villages (21 1 4 kilometres). 

8— Marched to Murringen and Hunningen (16 kilome- 

tres). 

9 — Marched to Sistig (31 * 4 kilometres). 

10— Marched to Euenheim (27G kilometres). 

11 — Marched to Bruhl (25 kilometres). 

12 — Marched to outskirts of Cologne (12)4 kilometres). 

13— ACROSS THE RHINE. To Volberg (25 kilometres) . 

14 — Marched to Enter Eschbaeh (5 kilometres). 



ITINERARY 



333 



1919 



January 5 — Marched to Hoffnungsthal to entrain. 

6 — Arrived Huy (Belgium). 



February 1/28 — Month spent at Huy. 



March 5 — -Left Huy by train (11 a.m.) for le Havre. 

7 — Arrived le Havre (Canadian Embarkation Camp). 

14 — Embarked ( S.S. Queen Alexandra) and crossed to 

England. Weymouth. 

15 — Disembarked (Weymouth). Train to Liphook. 

Marched to Bramshott Camp. 

April 10 — Train to Liverpool. Sailed for Canada on S.S. 

Carmania. 

18 — Arrived Halifax. Entrained. 

20— ARRIVED MONTREAL. 



334 THE ROYAL MONTREAL REGIMENT 

APPENDIX F 



The Royal Montreal Regiment 



14th Battalion, C.E.F. 



STATISTICS 



Total of the Nominal Roll 6,270 

Individual names on Nominal Roll 5,603 

Number of officers who served.... 246 

Officers killed 47 

O.R. killed 1,077 

O.R. died, or killed accidentally 68 

Total killed 1,124 

Total dead 1,192 

Officers wounded 141 

O.R. wounded 3,136 

Total wounded 3,277 

Total casualties (as above) 4,469 



SERVICE BY YEARS 



1914 149 days 

1915 365 days 

1916 366 days 

3917 365 days 

3918 365 days 

3919 Ill days 



Total 



1.721 days 



Days spent in Canada 60 

Days spent at Sea 27 

Days spent in England 147 

Days spent in France and Belgium 1,458 

Days spent in Germany 29 



Total 



1,721 



Form 45 

940,9 F 435 



Fetherstonhaugh 



Royal Montreal regiment 



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